Spontaneity: It’s a word you probably haven’t heard in a while. It’s an old friend, or maybe a nodding acquaintance for some. It’s a word that used to describe your unfolding life, as your decisions were made on pure whim and gut feeling. It’s associated with the good ole days when you were carefree and everything was exciting.
It’s probably been a while since you’ve heard from spontaneity. It's maybe been a few weeks, months or years since you’ve felt the way you did when spontaneity was a part of your life. You probably haven’t done a single wild thing since you’ve parted with it.
I lost my spontaneity when I graduated from college. The day I focused on finding a job and defining my life was the day I stopped being spontaneous and willingly chained myself to the shackles of monotony.
I began forming routines and sticking so tightly to them for fear of any inconvenience or possible setback in my semblance of an adult life that I stopped living altogether.
My life was dictated by a schedule to such a point that I set times to take sh*ts. (That’s right, I didn’t even let myself poop on whim.) My mornings were dictated by the same walk with the same coffee at the same time. My lunch was the option of three or four possible choices. My nightly routine was so rigid that I didn’t dare go to concerts or parties on weeknights for fear of throwing off the morning routine.
Then, one day, I broke the cycle. I got tired of the same walk and the same coffee. I got tired of my lunches and my coffee breaks. I got tired of the way I talked and walked and just about everything in my life. I got tired of being so goddamn boring.
I started making little changes, letting little setbacks, detours and randomness back into my life. I decided that every day would be a new opportunity to see or try something new.
I took a different route to work, walking up different streets and passing different neighbors. I tried a different type of coffee and went to work five minutes later. I started going out, making trips for myself and going to jazz clubs on Tuesday nights, even if it meant I’d be a little more tired Wednesday morning. And you know what? It’s changed my life entirely.
My willingness to "go with the flow" and give up on timing, scheduling and planning set me free. I opened myself up to anything life had to throw at me, including taking a sh*t on a random toilet. I found I could take the punches and the setbacks better when I walked into them, willingly. I began to thrive on the unknown and the unpredictable. I became that girl who was “down for anything.”
I’ve met new people and explored new parts of the city and new passions I never knew I had. I’ve created memories and experiences I wouldn’t exchange for anything3. I’ve become excited to wake up in the morning, thriving on each new day. I’ve started to enjoy my life again and reopened myself to the idea that anything is possible and that my life can and should change at any second.
My life has changed drastically since I let spontaneity back in. I greeted her timidly but have come to revel in our renewed relationship, throwing my arms around her as a lost lover.
I strongly suggest that you try and find yours again. Look for her, deep down inside you, and welcome her back. Apologize for staying away so long, then take her on adventures and new life experiences. I promise you won’t be disappointed. And if you still don’t know where or how to find her, here are 30 ways to let spontaneity back into your life.
1. Put your phone away for 24 hours.
2. Keep days open for anything.
3. Hang out with people you don’t normally see.
4. Ask a random coworker for drinks.
5. Don’t order the same thing from the same restaurant twice.
6. Talk to the person you’re sitting next to on the train.
7. Accept invitations you don’t want to take.
8. Take a walk without a destination.
9. Explore a new neighborhood.
10. Call an old friend to see how he or she is doing.
11. Try a new place for lunch.
12. Visit a friend in another state.
13. Go to a movie without seeing the trailer first.
14. Walk into the first bar you pass.
15. Take a sick day from work to go on an adventure.
16. Go to a party without knowing anyone but the host.
17. Sign up for a random class.
18. Wear something completely ridiculous.
19. Go on a date with someone you don’t know or like.
20. Buy clothes for a trip you haven’t planned.
21. Try cooking a new recipe.
22. Give someone you love a random gift.
23. Go to a concert alone.
24. Join a club of a hobby you always admired.
25. Share a cigarette with someone at a bar.
26. Write a review of an experience on Yelp.
27. Go to an open call.
28. Throw a party and invite all your neighbors.
29. Eat something you’ve never heard of before.
30. Write to an old college or high school teacher.