Little known fact about me – if there was one word that I wanted people to use to define me, it was “spontaneous”
Not friendly, kind, driven, or any of the other arguably better qualities to have attached to your name. No, I wanted to be spontaneous.
For me, being spontaneous meant you took life by the metaphorical… *cough*… and you ran with it. You lived life to the fullest each and every day. You went with the flow and when you didn’t like the flow, you made waves. You didn’t settle for boring or mediocre. You made memories happen, you didn’t let things just happen. You made them happen.
So because of this mentality, I think I always wanted to be unpredictable and open to what life has to offer.
Now, if I’m being honest – and I am being painfully honest and real in these chapters – I don’t always allow myself to give into the spontaneous side of myself. I tend to push things and limits pretty far, then panic, back off, and try to predict and plan. It’s as if I go from one extreme to the other.
So, why do I do this?
Well, I think it’s because as much as I love the day taking me wherever it will, I also strive for balance and stability – don’t we all?
So how do we find that balance?
I think it relates to coming up with a plan (ha) of your wants and must haves. For example:
I want to get married
I want to live somewhere unfamiliar
I want to donate my time to a local nonprofit
I want to always have at least one bottle of champagne in my fridge
I must feel valued in any relationship I have from now on (romantic, friendship, whatever)
I must feel challenged in my career
I must spend at least one hour a week writing
And when you begin to lay out some basic ground rules for your happiness and life, you can identify the areas in which you can be spontaneous. Hell, maybe these rules will help you do just that.
If one of your “musts” is to travel to a foreign place, perhaps you can talk to your boss about an out of state or out of country opportunity to work in another office. Packing up and moving to unfamiliar territory is pretty damn spontaneous if you’ve been in your hometown for most of your life.
If another “must” is to feel valued, maybe take an audit of the people in your life (friends, family, peers, etc.) and identify those in which you need to take a step back from and maybe others you need to put more stock into. If you’re in a toxic relationship that won’t serve you in the long run but *feels good right now* it’s time to start separating yourself from it.
I used to believe spontaneous meant unplanned but that’s just not true.
I thought spontaneous meant that I had zero plans and whatever sounded good, I went with it. I imagined floating through life and not knowing where I’d end up because I was spontaneous and adventurous and I didn’t want to stop being open to whatever opportunities life threw at me.
Only recently did I realize that I could be spontaneous every day if I chose to but careful in the ways I explore those limits, ensuring that I wasn’t getting swept away from my overall life goals.
If anything, that list of wants and must haves will help you shape your life towards one you want to be living and will serve as a barrier net when you get a little wild.
Think back to that list when you’re thinking about making a drastic change and see if that change will align with any of your overall goals.
If it will, get it.
If it won’t, maybe rethink.
It doesn’t mean stop or to not move forward in that direction – it just means to give it a second thought.
In all things, it’s about finding the right balance – Allowing yourself to explore new limits and let the day take you and not getting caught up in some life roadmap where you can’t stray from the one path in front of you.
(This blog post was taken from a chapter of my upcoming book – stay tuned!)