Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – May 22, 2004
Short Stories From 10 Years Ago – May 22, 2004 – The only thing I know about spontaneity is that there isn’t enough of it in the world. The world aside, there isn’t enough spontaneity in my life. As I’ve gotten older, there is less and less. This is not a good thing. Perhaps a remedy is in order. Thinking about the lack of this essential attribute makes me wonder if I was ever thus. Did I ever do wild and zany things?
Of course, the answer is yes, some of which I laugh about with friends while others are personal little gems that reside within my memory bank, right where they belong. I remember one night when I was in university and some chums and I left at ten o’clock and drove to Detroit for a cup of coffee.
We then turned around and drove back to our dorm. The fun was in talking and laughing during the drive. It was a wonderful spring night and we were tired of studying for exams. We came back, tired but refreshed and ready to pick up our books again that afternoon.
We all need routines to get us through the days at work and the responsibilities of home, family and friends. Predictable behaviour is a safe, known commodity with a pre-determined outcome, and it’s an essential element of living. But remembering to do things out of the ordinary is also necessary for our senses to be awakened and our spirits to be nurtured.
There is a lovely exuberance that fills the body and mind when we stop in the middle of the work day and go for a walk or call up a friend and suggest lunch at a pub – not next week but today. We’re all over-loaded with plans, schedules and work. The first thing to be sacrificed in this daily onslaught of responsibilities is our enjoyment of life.
When was the last time you called six friends on a Saturday afternoon and said, “My place tonight seven o’clock – pot luck dinner – come as you are, no excuses accepted”?
What about a week-end away without months of planning? A day of fun shopping with a break for lunch and another for coffee? What about a trip to the art gallery or the museum just because you were driving by? Change your hair color on a Sunday night for no reason. A walk in the moonlight. Throwing stones in the lake. A visit to the zoo. An afternoon matinee by yourself to see a much anticipated movie. Ask a person you’d like to know better out for coffee. Visit a cemetery, read the head stones and wonder about the people who have gone before you. Take a day and read a book. If your kids are at home – read out loud to them. Don’t bother to cook dinner – order pizza or Chinese. Have a picnic in the living room.
Years ago when I was living in Waterloo, I had a sudden, inexplicable yearning to see the lake at Sauble Beach. I got up about two in the morning, made a thermos of coffee and then drove, with my dog Majara, to Lake Huron. I sat on the beach, drank my coffee and watched the dawn break and the sun come up. I felt incredibly alive during the drive back home.
“Life” is in the everyday, little things, not the major events of a person’s journey. I’ve forgotten that in my life and it’s time I paid attention to the subtle messages that my soul sends me, the gentle urging in my heart to go somewhere, call someone or get out of the house and interact with life.
How about you? When was the last time you stepped outside the old comfort zone and let spontaneity be your guide for the day? It’s never too late. I don’t think I’m going to drive to Detroit today for coffee, but it’s nice to know that I could!