One definition of spontaneous is unplanned or done on impulse.
Sounds like me – right?
Not so much.
I’m a planner. I’m also a do-er. I’m a list maker and a logical thinker. That doesn’t leave much room for anything spontaneous, although I have been known to write something on my list that I did that wasn’t planned so I could mark it off. Does that count at least a little bit? It is a crazy habit but it helps me look back and see there was a reason I didn’t get everything else done on my perfectly planned out list!
I’m trying to loosen up, to enjoy life more, to not always be driven by the calendar or clock.
It’s hard. People depend on me to meet my responsibilities and I have this thing called perfectionism that I keep plugging away at reforming. I’m not perfect, I know that. But I set ridiculously high standards for myself that I would never put on anyone else … and then I procrastinate … and then I fail. It’s a vicious cycle. Can you relate?
But, really, I am getting better.
So, a couple weeks ago my cousin posted a photo of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. I commented about wanting one and she told me to pack a bag and get over there.
She and her husband were vacationing in Branson. Thats a 6-hour drive for me. I like to drive but life’s been just a little bit stressful lately and I was concerned I would go and come home exhausted, which would likely just create more stress.
Then the text messages started – one photo after the other – the enclosed porch with comfy chairs (and books!) – the private bedroom and bathroom with Jacuzzi tub – the fireplace – the trees — a complete picture of relaxation was developing.
The next morning I threw some clothes in my suitcase and put it in the car so I’d be prepared … just in case. I still wasn’t completely sure about going. I had a lot of reasons why I should stay home. But the reality was if I stayed home I would be mad at myself for not going and then I wouldn’t get anything productive accomplished anyway!
So, I went. I took a half day vacation from work, put Branson in the Maps app on my phone, got in my car , and hit the road. My hope was to get there before dark.
I love technology … and although GPS has taken me to the wrong place on occasion I still trust it. Of course, it’s a fairly straight-forward route. You either go east and then south or south and then east. I chose the south route to get there. Highway 400 was familiar.
As I neared Parsons I checked my gas gauge. I still had 110 miles before E so I drove on. Pittsburg wasn’t far and I could get fuel there. Well, the GPS took me around Pittsburg on a different road and then my travels got interesting. Narrow 2-lane roads with very little traffic. As the number of estimated miles remaining continued to drop and the distance between farms began to increase, I got a little concerned.
There were lots of hay bales, but this pony doesn’t eat hay … I needed gasoline!
I began looking for fuel tanks at farms. I saw diesel tanks, but that wouldn’t do. I was about ready to pull over and open up my Yelp app to see if there were any gas stations close by. I had 32 miles left and I had no idea where I was. All of a sudden, like a mirage in the desert, there it was… a gas station. Whew!
Once I arrived at the cabin we enjoyed a delicious steak dinner and conversation that lasted late into the night.
Saturday included a trip to the Branson Landing for a bit of shopping and a lot of people watching and just enjoying what we knew was one of our last warm days of fall. (And ice cream for lunch!)
I got to spend some time at The Plum Bizarre – an awesome bead shop! I left there with fresh inspiration and enough supplies to legitimately write my mileage off as a business expense!
Back at the cabin we spent the rest of our time watching a little TV, talking, laughing, reminiscing, eating, and listening to the acorns randomly pummel the roof of the cabin.
As the weekend wound down we made plans and put a date on the calendar to do it again. It won’t be spontaneous next year but I see an annual tradition developing.
We came to the conclusion that although death is certain, it is often spontaneous – not planned for – so we should not work so hard to plan every detail of our lives. We must make time to be spontaneous. Yeah, that sounds a little ridiculous. It’s more like not planning every hour of your day (or dollar of your budget) so you have room to choose something spontaneous when it hits you!
Will you give it a try? Step out of the expected – act on a whim – go ahead, surprise yourself. You’ll be glad you did.