How many of us love spontaneity in all areas of our life, and how many of us prefer a basic structure? I know that I like structure. I’m not that good with spontaneity. If I am going out to a meal, or to see a film, for instance, I like to book it before. I hate turning up at a restaurant only to find there are no tables free, or no seats available at the cinema. If I can book things a week or two ahead, I will do so.
At present, my life lacks structure. While I was working, I always had something to do, and my week was planned. If I was delivering a workshop then that was the day mapped out, and if I wasn’t there was always admin and marketing to do. Although every day was different, I knew I had structure to my time and more than enough to fill that time.
Right now, there isn’t enough to do and I’m scratching around to find enough structure to prevent me from losing all enthusiasm for life. I once saw a documentary on a team of deep cleaners who clean houses after the residents have died and lain, undiscovered, for weeks. In one such case, the deceased had a diary on his wall. The only thing written on the diary, every two weeks, was written “Collect social security.” I hope my days never become that desert.
I like routine. I like getting up at a certain time every morning, making breakfast and seeing my husband off to work. I love having the discipline of cooking dinner every evening. I love having tasks for every day of the week. This morning, for instance, is towel washing, as it is every Tuesday. Wednesday is bathroom cleaning day and Thursday more laundry – sheets this time. If, for any reason, the pattern becomes interrupted, I am disturbed by that interruption and try to re-establish my routine as soon as possible.
There must be room, however, for spontaneity. A friend of mine, many years ago, when challenged on her super-organised life, made a date in her diary, every Friday afternoon, to do something spontaneous. Maybe that is an extreme example, but I think we all need the unexpected in our lives. If we don’t build this in, we risk not only becoming rigid and stultified, but fearful of life too. Our lives become more and more circumscribed.
So, I’m making the effort. This morning, I messaged one of my friends who I know holds a card-making class every Tuesday and asked if I could come along today. I know it’s a small thing, but it gets me out of the house and slightly out of my comfort zone. It’s something spontaneous and organised on the fly.
I’d be interested to know how you balance these two elements in your life, please let me know in the comments.