Planning to be spontaneous
turning the hated to-do list into fun
Luck favors the prepared.
Edna Mode, The Incredibles (2004)
I have a few days off work next week. A cough that won’t budge, a sleeping pattern that won’t settle, some mild indigestion, are probably symptoms of fatigue and a need for respite. I’m really looking forward to it.
How is it that a week off flies by, when the working days drag on endlessly? Before you know it, Thursday rolls around and thoughts of the work that’s waiting for you seep into the end of the break. By Sunday it’s all but impossible to settle as Monday casts its long shadow forwards.
The more trappings of adulthood we acquire, the less we hold on to the spontaneity of youth. Trappings is quite an appropriate word for how pinned down and limited adult life can become. On holiday I want to discard all that ‘left brain’ hidebound nonsense and just have fun.
And yet. My time is limited. I cannot spend every day gazing at clouds, or I’ll be back at work nursing resentment and disappointment, again. I want to write. My decision to pass on NaNo was right for me, but I still need to create. I want to walk. I want to go for a lazy lunch with my daughter.
I might resist, but the answer is clear. I will have to make a list.
Although my creative child mind rebels at the notion, lists can be useful. Creating a loose structure should give room to indulge the soft-edged, ‘right brain’ dreaming that I crave.
Plans are of little importance, but planning is everything.
This means submitting to the tyranny of the to-do list, with one crucial difference. This list consists mainly of things I actually want to do.
Thinking in advance allows me to get the more out of the limited resource which is time. While it might be true that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, having one is far better than facing your foe with no idea how to proceed.
Enemies are everywhere. Those tiny but enormous words yes and no often trip up the creative or vacationing person who appears to be doing nothing.
Calendar in hand, I can truthfully say no thank you, I’m painting then, already committed to lunch there, and unavailable to fulfil your needs at the expense of my own. Conversely I can take off to the seaside when a lovely day appears unexpectedly. The plan flexes without failing completely because I didn’t have a grasp of what I wanted.
I’d write more, but I have to go plan my days off. Leaving, of course, plenty of free time in which to get up late, gaze at clouds and dream.
Originally published at 2squarewriting.com on November 24, 2017. Thanks for reading!