Warning: Spontaneity May Result In My Combustion

  I am a creature of habit.  I like patterns.  I feel secure in the rituals and routines of daily life.  I am change resistant, and I do not appreciate disruptions to the norm.  Our cat has a scratching box that he runs to like clockwork when he wakes up from a nap, when he squirms away from unwanted attention, and when he comes out from under the bed after a fright.  We refer to this box as his “safety-safe”.

Our home is my “safety-safe”, my sanctum where I feel somewhat in control of my surroundings. Getting me to leave the house requires a plan.  It means having a specific destination with a purpose.  I need to know the whys and the wheres ahead of time.  I have been known to plant myself near the front door, refusing to step outside until the endpoint of the trip has been established.  Yes, I do want to grab something to eat, but no, I do not want to figure it out as we drive.  I would be happy to go to the mall just as soon as you tell me what stores you need to visit. Are you gathering that spontaneous is not a word that I have a close relationship with?  I am not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person.  It is a rarity for me to act on a whim, and I have trouble accepting last minute invitations.  Our close friends and family know this well by now as they have heard the excuses and received the declinations.  It is not that I do not want to see them.  It is not that I do not want to do fun things.  It comes down to the simple fact that I need time.  Time to digest the idea, time to play out the possible scenarios, and time to calm down the anxious introvert who lives inside of me.  Ask me a month ahead of time, and after a week I will more often than not accept the invitation.  Ask me a few hours, or even a day ahead of time, and I answer with an automatic declination.

That is the way it has been for years.  I am working on changing this, and I am determined to find my spontaneity comfort level.  I am realizing that while it may feel like it sometimes, I will most likely probably hopefully not burst into a human fireball by taking a leap of faith and acting on the spur of the moment. My husband and two of our close friends precipitated the change, though I not sure they are aware of it.  It happened last March when our friend texted my husband the night before St. Patrick’s Day, telling him that we should drive down the next day to meet them for a big outdoor celebration.  Knowing me as he does, he added in the text that his wife said to tell me to be spontaneous (as if).  I am awoken from my slumber to my husband telling me about the text, and do I want to go?  Um, no, I do not.  Because we all know that I do not do spontaneous.

I must have had an overnight epiphany as I woke up the next morning thinking about it.  Be spontaneous seemed like a challenge, and I was going to rise up and accept that challenge.  To my husband’s shock and delight I said yes, and we packed a bag and took off for an out of town overnight trip.  Without planning.  Without analyzing.  Just going.  In a funny twist, when we arrived my friend told me that it was not her who said I needed to be spontaneous.  Her husband knew that she was one of my favorite people, so he put the words in her mouth thinking they would carry more weight.  They did, and we wound up having an incredibly fun time.  The type of fun time I had missed out on in the past due to my reluctance and hesitation. It was the kind of thing many would not consider as a big deal, but it was a game-changer for me.

It was a baby step away from my safety zone, the invisible boundaries I had drawn that I would not have crossed before.  Since that day I have loosened up considerably, and life has become happier and more adventure-filled.  I have not done anything as dramatic as skydiving or parasailing, but there is hope for that in the future (the parasailing at least).  I have, however, agreed to last minute dinners and happy hour get togethers.  I accompanied my husband on a trip to see our favorite team’s college football game when we were gifted with tickets just the night before.  This was a trip he would have previously made solo as I remained stubborn and steadfast at home, unable to reconcile the possible enjoyment with the change in my routine.

What will happen the next time someone asks me to go on an impromptu adventure?  I will say no, of course.  And then ten minutes later I will say yes.

“The fun stuff comes when someone is not so strict on sticking to the script. You’re allowed the spontaneity, and great moments can happen.” ~ Jennifer Aniston


How do you react to spontaneous moments?  Do you need advanced time to plan your outings, or can you take off on a moment’s notice?  As always, I welcome and encourage your comments. Cheers! Karen photo credits to: http://www.pixabay.com

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44 thoughts on “Warning: Spontaneity May Result In My Combustion

  1. One of the most difficult adjustments I had to make when I needed personal assistance was to become more routine in my activities. I was always that spontaneous person – up for a last minute happy hour, game for a sudden road trip to nowhere. Then I became dependent on others for help with basic needs like getting dressed, going to the bathroom and getting in/out of bed. I have learned to be a planner. I still make changes to my routine, but last minute adventures are no longer a regular part of my life.

    I am glad you are embracing change. Parasailing is great fun! I hope you get the chance to do it!

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  2. I’m with you! I used to and still do at times abhor change, however, with that being said I have learned to embrace it. I have found that when I open my heart and mind to new situations I am surprised by the opportunities I can find. Treasures can be unfolded along the journey. Cheers!

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  3. Planned spontaneity, what a concept! I actually am far too much the other direction and need to reign myself in. Can we say impulsive? It’s caused me a lot of bad decisions and regrets. I wonder if any of us have that “perfect moderation” we all yearn for?
    ps. But you will NOT get me parasailing due to a height phobia. Great post – – you always have the best topics!!

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    • The need to retain some measure of control obviously keeps a firm grasp on me. I do okay with heights. It is closed spaces that terrify me. Odds are my newfound spontaneity will not lead to any Houdini-type maneuvers. 😉

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  4. Strangely enough, I do better with last-minute suggestions than with events that are planned ahead: I always wonder what else will come up that will conflict with the event. (I think this has to do with the uncertain nature of my kids’ lives right now?)

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  5. That’s such an encouraging post! I am sometimes uneasy about spontaneity; I think I want the illusion of control. And when I just leap in, I’ve always been happier. My husband has always been a huge supporter/instigator in all of this!

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  6. I am a bit of both! I like routine as do you, and sometimes it takes me a while to get myself out. I have also turned down many an invitation (especially last minute ones) due to be settled into my routine and not wanting to disrupt it.
    There are times when I can be spontaneous (I went over to Turkey to marry my first husband) , but as I get older, these are getting rarer!

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  7. I can relate to your post. I am/was the same way. Spur of the moment stuff just seems unplanned AND I am a planner. I have loosened up and learned to embrace these impromptu moments. Honestly, life doesn’t always go as plan and there may just be something for me in those unexpected moments.

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  8. I like change, but I am governed by daily headaches, migraines and cluster headaches. So, if my head says yes…I try to go for it. If it says no, I have to stay home and find a way through my day. But, I do try to make something of every day.
    I loved this post. It was so honest and heartfelt. I can relate to the feelings you have about breaking out of what I call my ‘safety zone’.
    Good for you. 🙂

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    • You have a great attitude. While not daily, I am prone to migraines and tension headaches. It takes a strong person to push forward when they hit. Thank you for the kind comment and the encouragement! Best, Karen 🙂

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  9. This is my husband to a tee, he loves to plan his spontaneity and is not good with change or unplanned meal stops or going to shops at the mall that were not on the list!! Haha, we seem to balance each other out. He is dragged kicking and screaming on adventures he was not fully prepared for but managed to enjoy, and I am now much better at planning and thinking some things through. It’s a work in progress.

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  10. I think for me, spontaneity changes with the ebbs and flows of the seasons of life.I used to be very spontaneous, but with family routines while the kids grow up, there was more of a routine. Now that the kids are getting older, there is more flexibility, and am am to loosen a bit. It is much easier to take off somewhere on the spur of the moment (though mom or dad’s taxi service is still much in demand) 🙂
    Great post Karen BTW! 🙂
    ~Carl~

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    • That makes a lot of sense, Carl. Our spontaneity can be restricted by where we are in our lives (building a career, raising kids, family obligations, etc). We don’t have children, and as long as we aren’t gone too long the cat doesn’t mind overly much.

      Thanks for stopping by! Wishing you a great week ahead! 🙂

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  11. Love that you are open and talk about how much you have changed!
    I am a little of both. I like to research and plan and have some sort of direction but can also alter plans to fit whatever comes up (like plan B, C, D that I have already worked out in my head). 🙂 I also love the fun spur of the moment things! Those seem to be the most fun so I embrace those as much as possible! I do however hate to be in limbo for too long. It’s stressful for me.
    So, I hear where you are coming from and think it’s wonderful where you are going with your spontaneity!

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  12. Haha, plan B, C, & D! I can certainly relate to that! I am trying to reach the happy medium that you seem to have found with all of your awesome hiking adventures. Planning ahead will always be necessary to some extent, but I am open to wandering down an unknown trail once I get there. Have a happy week! 🙂

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  13. My partner is like you in that he can’t leave the house without a specific plan. He gets really anxious, even angry, if we go out and deviate from the original plan. On the other hand though, I won’t agree to go out usually if we’re going to meet a group of people I don’t know, the thought of having to be ‘fun’ and ‘interesting’ terrifies the shit out of me! Needless to say this means that most trips out for us start with an argument that usually ends with one of us going ‘fine, we’ll go’.

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    • Funny, that sounds like our house pre-outing as well…except that in both cases I am the arguing party. No plans, no go. People I don’t know, no go. Of course the times when I cave in and go I have a great time, but I don’t have to admit that to the husband! 😉

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  14. Hmmm.. I had no idea that you were like that. Good to know 🙂 Love you either way. But you better say yes next time I ask you to do something spur of the moment!! haha. I live totally in the moment. I actuallly get nervous planning to far ahead. My fear is, sure going to a play with these people in three weeks sounds good now, but what if when the day comes it’s super sunny out and warm in NYC and I want to eat a long dinner and have drinks outside instead…it scares me!!
    Great post as always Karen.

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    • I think if I lived in NYC I would be more prone to keeping my options open, too. I am envious of you non-planners, but I am learning to loosen up! I was just going to say “let’s plan an adventure” but that takes the impromptu out, doesn’t it? I promise, I’ll be game for the next spur of the moment event! Xo

      Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand that. I often think of leaving a comment on a blog or a social media post, but I will hesitate and second guess myself right out of doing so. Do you think that as you move toward retirement and away from a strict schedule that you might change your outlook? Thank you for visiting, commenting, and following. I will be following you as well, and I look forward to reading about your transition. Best, Karen 🙂

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  15. I am with you on the comments approach.
    With respect to retirement the thought of “what’s next” means almost everything is new and can’t always be fully analysed before responding.

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  16. Once i leave the house I’m fine. I usually need two or three things lined up to get me going then and then after that i can handle spontaneity better. But its hard for me to leave the house.

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  17. I can’t handle spontaneity around others, it does make unexpected conversations awkward and even getting together with friends becomes awkward when something changes the plans we made, whether the film we planned to see is full or the pitches are all booked.
    On the other hand I’m incredibly spontaneous at home and on my own, mostly due to swinging moods.. I guess it’s just one of those weird things that I will never understand in life

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