I confess, spur-of-the-moment isn’t my favorite flavor. I seldom do anything at the last minute. On the contrary, I plan my work, my meals, my wardrobe, my errands, and my social life. I use three separate calendars. Does that make me obsessive-compulsive? An over-thinker? A worrier? A nerd? All of the above? None of the above?
Obviously, we are all planners to a certain degree. We don’t wake up in the morning and hop a plane to Sydney. We have to schedule our medical appointments, parent-teacher conferences, and air conditioning repairs. But there are many people who only plan what they absolutely have to plan, and leave the rest of their lives to chance. Do they, like blondes, have more fun?
Looking for answers, I turned to the expert on all things, Dr. Phil. Evidently, Dr. Phil has plans for weight loss, weddings, retirement, and better relationships. But not a single plan for spontaneity. Thanks a lot, Dr. Phil. How’s that working for you?
Spontaneous people, I believe, experience life on a different level than planners. They have more adventures, and find joy in the unexpected. Ok, now they’ve piqued my interest. Joy is my favorite word. Am I missing out? What’s their secret?
I believe that planners are more efficient. I also believe that a plan can eliminate or minimize stress. And maybe having three calendars prevents over-scheduling or forgetting something. But does that mean planners are better at life? Or is it just that we approach life differently, in which case it’s all good. Different is neither right nor wrong. It’s just different.
Since Dr. Phil turned out to be useless in this regard, I’ve been forced to walk the tightrope between planning and spontaneity unassisted. Suddenly, an epiphany! Just like in my tightrope metaphor, the solution is BALANCE. Yes, balance between policies of planning and laissez-faire. Each has its unique purpose and opportunity. Combining both in balance is synergistic. The best of both worlds.
If you’re also on the tightrope, I want to share what’s been working for me. I schedule time to be spontaneous. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? Please don’t judge me because I carve out chunks of time every week to deliberately see what happens. I call it my “adventure time,” but believe me, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds. I simply open my mind to whatever happens. Sometimes it’s joyous, like accidentally making a new friend. Sometimes it’s painful, like the time I decided to rearrange my furniture and ended up cutting my foot when a crystal vase smashed into thousands of tiny pieces.
Attempting to balance the plans with the non-plans is still new to me. I’m still not sure whether it will become a lifestyle change, or whether the experiment will soon run out of steam. I guess for now I’ll stick with it and see where it takes me. Maybe to Office Depot to buy another calendar. Will I see you there?