how i plan for spontaneity

i am all in favour of spontaneity, providing it is carefully planned and ruthlessly controlled. – john gielgud

some number of months ago, a dear friend, ofer, taught me how to handle spontaneity. his advice, in not so few words: put it in a box.

in our conversation, he talked about how he handled self-care time. he set a number of nights per week that he would only spend time with himself. sometimes he moved the night around during the week, but he made sure to get every night he allotted. i took that system and ran with it.

on my calendar, i have two three-hour blocks of time essentially labeled ‘wildcard.’ they serve the purpose of holding time to be spontaneous with. i have an ongoing battle with spontaneity (i mostly don’t like it), but allotting time for it allows me to (think i) have some control over it. if something comes up, say a friend needs to talk or go on a walk on a personal night, i might swap that personal time (also a three-hour block) with the wildcard time. that way, i know i’ll still get my personal time and i still get to be “spontaneous.”

the most important part of this (which i almost forgot to write) is that once i’m out of spontaneous, that’s when my ‘no’ muscle goes to work. this system has allowed me to say no to random events (even really cool ones) like nbd. it is so so helpful to have a framework for this.

some friends have said this is obsessive. that’s possible. i’m a man of extremes. can’t help it.

still, i really like how this system of dealing with spontaneity has helped make space for it, while also ensuring that i get my needs met (which i’ve spent a lot of time quantifying over the last two years).