I’m obsessed with the word ‘spontaneous’.
In a recent article I wrote, the word made its way into at least three sentences. I was spontaneous in my speaking, in my traveling, even in my relationship. I was saying it so often that it was starting to lose its meaning. It was starting to sound foreign and meaningless, like a word you say over, and over, and over again.
What did the word really mean to me? Why did I feel the need to inject it so forcefully into my writing?
In the words of Germaine Greer, “The essence of pleasure is spontaneity”.
Greer’s words sum up how I always saw spontaneity. The ability to be natural and passionate, the joy of living life impulsively, without too many constraints. The adventure of ending up somewhere unexpected and discovering something new.
Spontaneity was something I always aspired to, something I always made a place for in my life. I impulsively left my job to write a book, set off on a quest with barely a plan, said yes to anything and everything that sounding intriguing.
But I aspired to other things too, more concrete things, like a house and a family and enough money not to worry too much. We started a business, I wrote a book and I knew the importance, and the comfort, of having a routine.
Gradually, the rituals and routines that we had created started to seem like they were taking over. Every moment in our day was accounted for, every evening planned and every weekend full. We were busy and productive and trapped.
I realized the spontaneity was not just a frivolous thing that made me feel free and unencumbered. It was necessary. It was in the moments that I didn’t have anything planned that my mind could wander and make connections. It also allowed me to see things and experience things that were unexpected, things that challenged me and changed my perceptions.
Without spontaneity I was safe, with it I was living.