Planning for Spontaneity

When we’re visiting family, it’s a week of cousins, and hard playing, and schedules that aren’t followed. We do really fun things and a lot of car naps and later bedtimes. Usually, sometime in our visit, we need a quiet day. One to rest and just chill. It keeps the girls going strong for all the fun, but they do reach a limit.

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At the beach during naptime

Because of our at-home structure, these weeks seem a bit chaotic. But because of our at-home structure, I’m also surprised at how adaptable the girls are to a whirlwind schedule. They adjust and go with the flow and I know that, even though we may have a few more meltdowns than usual, a week of short naps and later bedtimes is worth the beautiful memories being made with family we don’t see often enough.

According to StrengthsFinder, people who have the strength of Context make better decisions because of their daily structure. They organize their lives in such a way that, when a decision needs to be made, it’s not too difficult a process.

Even though our daily life is quiet and structured, it reminds me a bit of this strength of Context. When we can live within a routine and structure, we do. It makes those moments when we need to be flexible and free possible.

Frank and I are both pretty thoughtful and methodical when it comes to family decisions. We have spreadsheets (when I say we, I of course mean Frank) and goals. We talk a lot about our budget and how we’ll wisely spend our money. Because of all this planning and sorting, we are able to make spontaneous decisions with our time and resources, as well. Because unexpected things occasionally arise and because we’re in good communication about expected events, we’re able to make quick decisions when we need to.

Sometimes I feel boring, being so rigid. I envy people who seem to live life on the fly, not thinking too much about both big and small decisions. They seem so free! And, certainly, when they are living within their own strengths, that works incredibly well.

What I’m learning is that, because my strengths include thoughtful planning, I can be free because of the planning. I am more relaxed and have more fun when the rest of my life is structured. When my foundation is solid, I am more confident to be flexible.

When I first read about Context, I felt like such a dud. I wanted something happier, prettier, more fun. As I learn to embrace my strengths, I’m seeing that happiness and fun are attainable, but the details look different. And that’s the beauty, isn’t it? That we all experience the fun and crazy of life, but we all structure it in different ways.

How do you best experience fun and spontaneity – when you have a plan for the rest of your days or because that’s how you best function?

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This post is Day 26 of the Write 31 Day Challenge. I’m spending the month of October writing about the StrengthsFinder test. You can find the entire series over at Live Your Strengths page.

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2 thoughts on “Planning for Spontaneity

  1. I’ve learned to be more spontaneous as I’ve grown up. I used to be so horrible at being spontaneous until a friend and I decided to be spontaneous one day. It changed us! And was so much fun!

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