my relationship with spontaneity and structure (it's complicated)12 Dec 2018
over the past week or two, something has become quite clear to me: the way i structure my life is what allows me to be highly aware of change in the (eco)systems around me.
for years i’ve known that my way of planning my life out don’t work for everyone. i am meticulous about my calendars and schedules and task management processes, etc. note: that doesn’t mean they’re perfect or even that i’m happy with those systems. but i have been given the explicit feedback that i operate those things at a different level than most people around me. in teaching or coaching or sharing those things with other people, i’ve tried to be increasingly explicit over time that i am hoping to be an inspiration to other and not a model.
over the last year or two, i’ve been in community with more and more folks who lead much more fluid lives. that’s really always been the case (i.e. when you’re the most structured, lots else seems fluid). but the folks around me recently have cause me to do more reflection on my way of being than i ever have before. sometimes it looks like explicit pushback: “wow. i’m feeling really hurt that you can’t fit me in.” other times it just looks like inability to connect: “guess i’ll see you never.”
this has triggered a serious questioning of my way of being. am i too structured? do i need more fluidity and spontaneity in my life?
inspired by my friend jess, i’ve begun to practice spontaneity. but even that is fairly contained. and i’ve noticed repeatedly that when i lean into spontaneity, i drop something and feel bad about it.
but just last week in a conversation with someone (if it was you, let me know and i’ll insert you if you want to be named) and i realized something: the fact that my systems are so structured and finely tuned allows me to notice when things around me change! it’s the structure that allows me to sense when something that used to work doesn’t anymore.
for example, there are some friends i call every two weeks. when the seasons changed from spring to summer this year, i noticed that a bunch of those bi-weekly calls got cancelled or rescheduled. sometimes me, sometimes one of them. in general, that’s fine because the whole reason i schedule bi-weekly calls with those six friends is so that if we have to miss some, we still talk many many times a year (if bi-weekly means 26 calls, missing even 6 means still getting in 20 calls).
but in the specific, what i’ve noticed is that summer is a time when spring routines don’t work anymore. factors i imagine are things like wanting to be outside more, and traveling more. i’m sure there’s more here, but those are some guesses.
anyway! this realization i’ve come to has made me feel pretty great because for a bit i was feeling like i need to be a different person. but now i’m feeling:
- that i don’t need to shift who i am; i can (with some consciousness and intention) lean into who/how i am to navigate a constantly changing world,
- i can still practice with spontaneity and see how that adds to or detracts from (or both) my quality of life, and
- that everyone doesn’t have to be like me and i don’t have to be like everyone.
omg it’s been almost twice the time i intended to write for. gotta go!
words / writing / post-processing
583w / 18min / 4min