Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Be Spontaneous

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“Let’s go get some ice cream,” my daughter says.

“When?” I think of all the reasons I can’t get ice cream—I am too busy. I’m avoiding ice cream so how fun would that be for me? I have a long to-do list. I want to finish my list. Now?

“Now,” she says.

“Let’s schedule it for next week. How does Tuesday afternoon work for you?”


Here’s the truth. Sometimes…Addy would say all the time…I seem to lack the ability to live spontaneously. I see this as being responsible, a way to get done what needs to be done. She sees this as sad.

So I have challenged myself to view this issue through my daughter’s eyes. Let’s face it parents, grandparents and caregivers, we are not always the teachers. Our children are, if we can open ourselves to the idea, sometimes our greatest teachers.

As I think about what adding spontaneity would bring to my life, I realize my young teacher is very wise. Being more spontaneous would mean I would have more fun. Why do I fight it so mightily?

I don’t have an answer for that, but I do have a new answer for Addy now. On a recent trip I had time to think about what my teacher said. In a phone call I promised, “When I get home, I will be more spontaneous.”

“I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Home for five days, I have done at least two spontaneous things—according to my daughter. Good for me. Not sure how easy it will be to break a deeply engrained patterned, but I will continue to try. And if not for me and the fun I will have, then I want to do it for my daughter.

To help me take on this new role, I did a little research. I liked what Kristie Leong M.D. said (www.ehow.com), “Even if you're not a naturally spontaneous person, you can add spontaneity and creativity to your life by taking some simple steps to break out of your established routine. By doing so, you'll find yourself less burdened with stress, anxiety and depression as you uncover new ideas and opportunities. “

Because I was still wondering about the “how” part of the formula, I dug a little more. I found a book titled 50 Ways to Feel Great Today! written by Dr. David Biebel and Dr. James and
Bobbie Dill. The authors told readers to get your work and deadlines met first. Spontaneity can come as the reward. They reminded us that this isn’t about “shirking your responsibilities.” It’s more about “spicing” up your life, which can be done by taking an unplanned trip to the ice cream store. In addition to telling us to keep wearing our responsibility hat, they also told us to “be naughty.” Their ideas of what constitutes being naughty are doing things like splurging on a dessert or reading a novel. They encouraged readers to spend time with others and to drop agendas. Maybe more than anything, spontaneity is an invitation to include more people in our life for fun reasons.

Addy turned thirteen in March. That means, realistically, there are only five more years before she’ll not be around to encourage me to have more fun. The girl’s got big plans…plans about going off to college. I ask you…why am I allowing busy work…work I always seem to get done anyway…interfere? I am thinking that any grandparent reading this will tell me to drop everything and go and be with my child as often as I can. I’m listening…

Allyn Evans
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