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Are you a spontaneous planner?

September 20, 2015

Are you a creature of habit or are you spontaneous?  I am always reading about how being spontaneous is an important part of life, a skill in fact.  You’re told that if you’re not spontaneous then you’re boring.  10 steps, 7 fun ways, 5 quick tricks, all to make you more spontaneous.  Call me cynical but following tips to make you more spontaneous, kind of feels like it’s going against the point?!


Routine is encouraged with babies, children, pets even, it’s encouraged to give people structure and a way of knowing what to expect.  So what point is it in life that you’re then encouraged to throw away all this basic life training and be more random in your choices?    


I don’t think my life is boring, I have routine as frankly, I have a job and by the very nature of going to work, you have routine.  But I do make a conscious effort to plan lots of exciting things for us to do at the weekends, I’m a fan of new experiences and as with all us millennials out there, I prefer to spend my money on doing things rather than buying things.  This blog often feels like a bit of a diary of where we’ve been and what we’ve done and if anything, acts as another reason to try something new.


But I found myself this weekend in a very rare situation where I had no plans, well, that’s a lie, I had planned to have a weekend of nothing but then when it arrived, I panicked!  After trips to Ibiza, camping, gigs, theatre, trips to the seaside and bbqs (and that’s just in the last month!), you’d think that a weekend of sleeping and chilling out would be enough.  For my busy little brain though, this was just too out of character.  My husband likes to ‘potter’, I can do this for about an hour and then I get cabin fever, I like to have a project or a plan and just bumbling around the house for a whole day just doesn’t work for me. 


This was my time, it had finally come, my time to be spontaneous.


The problem is, I’m too much of a planner to be spontaneous, I spent 20 mins on my phone looking for things to do around where I live, talking to James asking him what I should do, checking the weather and after all of that I simply drove to the charity shop to drop off a bag of clothes.  Not what I had really hoped for from my day of spontaneous fun…!  Productive but not fun.  So I tried again, I jumped in the car, I figured that driving was going to be involved someway or other and I just drove, I started following signs for one place, then I got there too quickly, I started following signs for another place that was further away - Oxford.  I can’t remember the last time I went to Oxford so it felt exciting. 


As I got closer I realised I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I got there, I had no interest in shopping and I wasn’t hungry, I was driving so going to a pub felt like waste!  So I pulled over when I saw a park.  I took a blanket out the car, realised that my tablet was dead so I couldn’t read a book (I knew there was a reason I had resisted getting a tablet for so long!) and so just sat.  It was lovely, it was sunny, it was warm and I lasted about 15 minutes before I realised I was bored just sitting there.  I cleared out my wallet, caught up on some messages on my phone and realised there was no point fighting it, I was done.  I got back in the car and drove home. 


Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed my little trip, I had a nice drive, a nice short sit in a park but would I have enjoyed it more had I planned a little picnic, planned to charge my tablet/had an actual book or even invited someone else and brought a Frisbee, yes, I probably would have.  However, I now know that I want to get a group of friends together to have a picnic in a park and a game of Frisbee, plan in progress. 


Now, spontaneity in advance I’m a fan of.  My recent trip to Ibiza came about from a drunken brunch in London a few months ago with some friends and a very easy to use easyjet app, somewhere between drinks number 5 and 8, we had booked flights to Ibiza.  The booking flights was spontaneous, but then we had time to plan what clubs we were going to go to, what I was going to pack and what animal I was going to be at the animal fancy dress club night (BTW I chose a Zebra and I blimmin loved it!).  So does the trip to Ibiza count as spontaneous?  I don’t know but I do know I’m very glad that we booked those flights and that we’d planned what clubs we wanted to go to before we arrived. 


I’m a fan of planning, I’m a fan of trying new and fun things but I don’t see these as mutually exclusive.  Spontaneity is not for everyone, it doesn’t come naturally to me.  I am always thinking, ‘if only I had thought about bringing this or that’ or ‘if we’d gone slightly earlier we could have seen this or done that’, does that make me boring, maybe, but I’m ok with that.  But doing something that is spontaneous that ends up in me being able to make a plan, I’m on board with that.


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