Other than knowing that we were planning to spend our usual Sunday morning at the pool, I started this weekend with a loose structure in mind, but no set plans. That meant that one hour turned to three at the pool on Friday afternoon as I caught up with a friend while my kids played happily in the water. It meant that upon exiting Whole Foods with dinner in hand, I was immediately able to text "YES!" when another friend texted out of the blue to see if we wanted to have a picnic that evening.
It meant that a trip to the science museum on Saturday afternoon extended into a kid-friendly adventure hike, and then burgers for dinner at the local brewery, and then an hour of cuddle reading with my daughter (our second hour of the day - we were both totally into the book).
It meant that upon returning from the grocery store this afternoon and finding my husband and kids deep into doing science experiments, I could announce that it was pizza and movie night, throw a couple of frozen pizzas in the oven, and join them in the fun.
It is not that every weekend is so easy, so free of constraint. Normally, I am a very much a planner and like to know what is coming so I can be prepared, fit what I need to get done in, and otherwise feel in control (something that can be a challenge these days). Lately though I find myself embracing the more loosely planned and spontaneous experiences - ones that happen because the moment feels right, not because a slot was filled on a calendar some weeks ago. By doing this I find that I am spending a little more time doing exactly what I want to be doing, with whom I want to be doing it with, exactly when I want to be doing it. Sure, a picnic would have still been fun if we had planned it for next week, but it was particularly fun last Friday because I got to surprise my kids with a visit and an outside dinner with their close friends, and got to spend it with people who were in the exact same frame of mind about how to close out the week as I was; It made for a very fun and relaxing experience.
The argument against spontaneity is that everyone is so busy that you have to plan things waaaay far in advance to get everyone on board. To some degree that is true, but more often than not, I have found I get a similar response rate when I ask someone with two days notice as when we agree to something a month in advance (an arbitrary date that makes no consideration for exhaustion, illness and the inevitable double-booking that occurs). I would rather have a smaller event with people that are super psyched to be there than a larger one where some people are sick/tired/coming out of obligation because they put it into their calendar weeks ago. And besides, even if no one else can come, I have these two jokers with me who are always up for a good time and a laugh:
At the end of the day, we all move to the beat of our own drum and fill up our lives in the ways that make the most sense for ourselves and those around us. I am just trying out this playing-it-by-ear thing a little more these days and am liking how it feels. The weather is a bit more predictable too.
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