College and my beginning years of adulthood have taught me the balance between spontaneity and planning. Whether you're like me and grew up as a strong type-A, or you've never kept a calendar, finding the balance between the two is a major key to sustainable happiness.
Sometimes you have to spend weeks laying out spreadsheets for a family vacation, and sometimes you have to show up at your best friend's house with a tank full of gas and no game plan.
Sometimes you have to be cautious with your heart, putting up walls and shutting toxic people out. Other times, you have to let yourself fall in love, or build that relationship, and see where it takes you.
Your plan isn't always going to line up with the rest of the world's, and learning to be OK with that will lower your anxiety and keep you at peace with yourself.
1. Practice Spontaneity - Say Yes!
While at first it may seem counterintuitive to practice spontaneity, your initial practice is what will make it more natural and comfortable for you later on. Start off small, if that's what you need. Say yes when your friend wants fast food at 3 am. Say yes when an opportunity you weren't prepared for presents itself.
Learn to say yes, and spontaneity will come.
Soon you'll be the one asking your friends to do the stupid thing. Letting go, being spontaneous and learning to put down the calendar will loosen your soul and lower your anxiety. You'll learn to care less about things that shouldn't matter; you'll learn to be less afraid of heartbreak and regret.
2. Be Casual.
Everything in your life doesn't have to have a timeline. Whether it's a new relationship or a temporary job, it's OK to not see a finish line. You don't have to be looking for marriage to go on dates and you don't have to stay in the same boring office job for your whole life. Learning to be casual and be OK with it will make SUCH a big difference in your life. You'll find yourself wondering why you didn't always hold this mentality.
3. See Drama, Remove Drama.
Purge your life of toxicity. Uptight friends will lead to an uptight you. Find areas of your life that stress you out the most, and figure out how to drop them. Whether it's a friend who bothers you on the reg or a job that you only took for the salary and benefits, ditch it. You'll find it so much easier to live your life the way you want to -- planned or not -- if you trim off the excess drama.
4. Find And Seal Your Boundaries
Some people work better with a set schedule than others do. Figure out where you fall and know your limits. You will know when you need to stick to your plan and when you can “play things by ear.” Of course, sometimes, the plans aren't in your hands, but that doesn't mean you can't alter the situation to benefit you the most.
5. Your Opinion Is What Matters
Don't be spontaneous just so you can post about it on Facebook and make everybody wish they were you. Do things because you want to do them. And if people think you should be less spontaneous? Forget about it. Care about your boundaries, and your boundaries alone.
Realize that not everything needs to be written in ink, and be OK with that. Know that you don't have to automatically say “no” to things just because you weren't planning on it. Know that you can do whatever you want, no matter what your usual routine is.