Something you should know about me: I am not spontaneous. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I am super spontaneous when I’m on vacation. But I haven’t been on a real vacation in almost two years. So, I don’t think that counts. In my day-to-day life, I operate on two speeds: Routine and Hedonism. I mostly run on Routine. And in the past few years, as my responsibilities have increased and my free time dwindled, Routine has become more stringent. This means, most of the time I’m locked into a schedule where every second of every day is planned and accounted for and it never changes. And then, every so often, I hit a wall where I can’t keep it up anymore and I combust into a fit of Hedonism. On these nights you’ll find me at a bar at 4 a.m. booty popping to ’90s dance music, even if I have to work the next day.
I realize this way of living is unhealthy because it’s unbalanced. Too much Routine, and I’m a robot. Too much Hedonism, and I’d never get anything accomplished. My Inner Fun Person has been getting the shaft for too long now. She deseves to express herself, too. That’s why I took a Spontaneous Weekend to reclaim her. Here’s what I did …
1. Cancel all your plans. Clear your schedule. No matter what you think you have to do, it’s totally possible to ditch it all for one weekend. If you have commitments, rearrange and reschedule, if you have kids hire a sitter. The same for pets. Your dance card must be totally, totally blank. This leaves room for spontaneous activities to occur. This may sound stupid, but I’m reminding you because I had to remind myself. How did I forget this? I’m not sure.
2. Break out of your comfort zone. Once your schedule is all clear, choose to do things you don’t normally do. Don’t go through all the trouble of canceling everything only to go to the gym, check your email and dine at your favorite restaurant. Breaking out of your comfort zone may include turning off your computer and your phone, driving to another town, trying an activity you’ve never tried before. Point being: You must do something different to shake things up. I went to a random flea market and bought a pair of crazy beaded earrings that I wouldn’t normally wear. Then I went to 16 Handles a yogurt shop I’ve been dying to try.
3. Treat yourself. Tell yourself that anything you want (within realistic financial limitations) is yours. For me, this included a wild pair of beaded earrings, a frozen yogurt with as many toppings as I wanted, an iced coffee from my favorite shop, a new lip gloss and a tattoo. And speaking of that tattoo …
4. Do something that scares you. Because my schedule was clear, I was free to go when my friend invited me to accompany her to get a tattoo. I do have a tattoo already. But I got it 15 years ago and wasn’t even remotely planning to get another one. But then, I was there and watching my friend get inked made my pulse race a little bit. And I decided: What the hell? I left there with new tattoos. Don’t worry, it’s relatively small and non-threatening. But I got inked on the fly! If tattoos are not your thing, try something else that makes your pulse race a little bit. Take a lesson of some sort, ride a motorcycle, go skydiving. I’m still too scared for that, but maybe someday … if Inner Fun Person continues to get her way.
5. Follow your every whim. There’s a little game I like to play called Letting Your Socks Lead the Way. If your socks could dictate where you go, what you do, where would they lead you? Yeah, I know socks can’t actually make decisions, but the point of the game is not to let your head — but rather your instincts — lead you. Be open to doing whatever you feel like doing every moment. Going to the flea market. Grabbing a yogurt. Hitting a tattoo parlor. Popping into an art gallery. Sitting at an Italian restaurant with a glass of wine. Humor yourself, give into to your every desire (within reason). It helps you get back in touch with how you really feel like spending your time.
6. Don’t feel guilty about it! All of this doesn’t count if you keep thinking about all the things youshould be doing instead. Actually, this was the hardest part of Spontaneous Weekend for me. To let the guilt about blowing my life off for a weekend go, I visualized myself holding a big bouquet of balloons (the balloons being all the things I have to do in a normal weekend). Then I envisioned myself loosening my grip, letting go and watching them all float away. It was so liberating once I did. I’m happy to report that my inner fun person still exists and she enjoyed her weekend very much. In fact, she’s thinking about implementing a mandatory Spontaneous Weekend at least once a month.