Spontaneity guide for the analytical thinker

Or how I play mind games with myself

I love spreadsheets. Absolutely love them. I will sort, categorize, index, compare and highlight in delightful pastel colors anything that might interest me. Collections, story ideas, work ideas. I once made a spreadsheet out of the entire contents of my mother’s pantry. (I tried the same with my shoes — but failed spectacularly as I guilt tripped myself into thinking I had too many pairs of shoes).

My spreadsheets are a work of art; carefully created to be visually appealing and yet give me the most information and clarity on a given subject. However, it sadly does not make me any good at maths. It’s a very niche talent, this one where I quantify absolutely anything.

And it really is anything — I metaphorically index people, life, relationships. (I don’t actually create spreadsheets of my relationships, but that’s not something I’d put past myself to be honest). If something goes wrong it allows me to pinpoint what happened, when it happened and why it happened. The same works the opposite way; analyzing ways to reach the desired outcome. It’s a fantastic way of shielding yourself from any feelings you might eventually have. Not that you will, after all you are a tremendous planner, or so you convince yourself.

A couple of months from now, on my eternal quest for the ultimate coolness, I decided to try to be more spontaneous. Sure, I’ll go with you to the strange bar. Yeah, I’m drinking the very cheap looking liquor you’re offering me, why not.

That is as far as I’ve managed to go. This week the most spontaneous thing I managed to do was buy a caffè macchiato from a food truck I passed on my way to work. This had the addition of allowing me to pretend I am a very sophisticated woman who enjoys Italian coffee and makes healthy choices in the morning. Surely people passing me on the streets would be able to tell that.

It’s great. You’re still trying to find meaning in life through planned, programmed things, but it’s the intention that fools your mind into thinking everything else you do isn’t just an effort to fill the void inside of you. You might end up contracting a urinary tract infection from jumping into that hot tub, but hey, at you least you did that and it was very cool. You get the feeling of control even in situations where you should simply let go.

It’s fun. You have about two seconds of excitement for doing something “different”, you get to congratulate yourself for achieving something and then you can go back to your safe space. A+ way of handling life, certified.

In a way, even if you leave promising yourself that you will never do the thing again, it was still a little bit worth it, still made you complete for a tiny bit of time — even if things like that never truly make you complete and you know you are looking for completeness in all the wrong places.

But macchiatos are great, and I will make any excuse to drink them.

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