Planning for Spontaneity

I like to think of myself as a fun! and spontaneous! person, ready for adventure or new plans at a moment’s notice. That hope is pretty much opposite of my personality. I’m a planner and organizer and when things don’t go the way I’d hope, I feel at the very least low-level stress.

IMG_4924We took a staycation the week after tax season and I had a lot of hopes for that week. We were going to create amazing family memories and totally reset our quality time after three months of a crazy schedule. Instead of hoping that Frank understood these expectations, I made a list.  It’s not exactly the definition of fun! and spontaneous! but it did help Frank know what I was expecting on our week together.

It made me think about the times with Frank or with my friends when my own expectations have gotten in the way of an experience. When I had hoped for a certain outcome that didn’t happen. Usually it’s because no one else knew I had that expectation.

Now that we’re a couple weeks into summer, I’m wondering if we need to make a list of expectations. Not a to-do list or even a summer bucket list but just a list of things we expect from our days. Do we expect to go swimming every day? Do we expect some sort of playdate or excursion or pajama day? I’m wondering if I include Bea in this list-making if our days would feel different? More summery and adventurous, rather than rushed and frustrating?

I still love the idea of fun and spontaneous days, but maybe those need to make it onto our list of expectations. Maybe a little planning allows for a lot more spontaneity.

How do you communicate your expectations about a vacation or a gathering? Are you a list-maker or more spontaneous?

Linked with Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is “expect.”

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14 thoughts on “Planning for Spontaneity

  1. Good thoughts! Sounds like I am very similar to you in personality – I like spontaneity but if we don’t plan things out, expectations are not met and someone is disappointed. Good post! – Lori, visiting from FMF # 20

  2. I used to like spontaneity, but my son and DIL do so my hubby and I are blessed to be part of a lot of spontaneity, and I love it now with grandchildren. I have my to do lists too, but I’ve learned when something comes up to not worry about it. I just move it over to another day, and I’ve learned to schedule mini tasks throughout the day.

    I agree about the expectations. Great thoughts!

  3. I don’t think I’ve thought of it that way, but I have to agree that maybe spontaneity needs to be added to the list. And maybe I just need to consider what expectations are lurking about anyway 🙂

  4. I think lists can be helpful too. It took me a long time to learn to be spontaneous. Hoping your summer days are filled with joy, laughter and happiness. I’m over in the 44 spot this week.

  5. Annie, what a great post! You’re right, when we communicate our expectations, our hopes, to our spouses, we have a much better chance of things going the way we hope they will. It’s those times when I just expect my husband to “know” what I want to do, or am thinking about (and vice versa), that we run into trouble. I love that you communicated your list of hopes for that StayCation.

    When we went to visit my hubs’ family last December, we talked with our boys to see what one thing they wanted to see while we were there. It was fun including them in on the planning. Of course, one is the adventure go-go-go boy, and the other is the homebody. It’s always “fun” to find the balance so they both feel like their needs are being met.

    You know I’m a list girl. So glad I’m not alone in this. 🙂

    1. When we go to Philly, we ask Bea what one thing she wants to do. Last year, it was the Betsy Ross house. I love that, in a week, it’s just one thing but it makes her feel so important. As always, it’s a balance, right? But I do feel like when we all know each other’s hopes and expectations it feels more natural to fulfill them.

  6. Annie, you’re on to something vital here.

    I’m terminal, and my expectations are geared toward surviving the now. My wife is not terminal, and her expectations are much ore in line with societal norms.

    I’m fighting a war from my home; she’s not. There are disconnects.

  7. I like a little planning to go along with spontaneous events too. As far as summer goes, I might not have a buttoned down plan, but certainly a loose one. I do best if I have a few things in pen on the calendar, and work around that. I have a tendency towards being a little lazy at times, and planning makes me less so. Enjoy your week!

    1. Pre-kids I loved lazy summers! But you’re right, no matter what stage or season, a few penned in activities help everyone. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

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