Being a recovering Type-A perfectionist, most of my actions are fairly calculated. By Monday, I pretty much know what my week is going to look like. My schedule is color-coded on both my personal and work calendar. I don’t like surprises or chaos.
However, I’m a walking contradiction. (#GeminiProbs). Because I love spontaneity.
I’ve found that when I follow my gut, particularly on the big things that mean something to me, that’s when the magic happens. This, I’ve coined as calculated spontaneity.
Calculated spontaneity (def): reaching for those things you’ve ALWAYS wanted even it feels a little crazy.
Let me explain some more. Do you have items on your bucket list that no matter what life throws at you can’t be shaken? Some goals and dreams stick with us through everything. They’re always in the back of your mind, so there’s already this intense sense that it means something special to you.
When those things present themselves as opportunities, it’s kind of a no brainer to go for it, right? Sure, sometimes they can be scary, but if the opportunity comes your way, you take it.
Some opportunities came my way that I couldn’t pass up. Calculated spontaneity was at work.
I got a dog.
Back in May, we lost my family pet and my entire family became obsessed with puppies. We stalked dogs on PetFinder and swiped like it was a dating app. We argued over who would get the dog to fill the void we had. We argued over which dogs were cute and which weren’t.
I came across a litter of pug mixes *spoiler alert: they weren’t actually pug mixes* and was hooked.
Back to that bucket list thing. Number one on my bucket list was to get a pug. If you know me, you know my love runs deep.
Long story short, I got a text that a dog was available and I immediately knew I had to go see it. I made my sisters jump in the car with me, drove to South Jersey (1.5 hours) and met the best puppy in the world.
An hour later, with no crate or puppy food in my possession, my sisters and I and the puppy who would later become Whiskey, were on our way to Walmart to buy out the puppy section.
That’s all it took.
Do I recommend you making spontaneous decisions that involve a creature’s life? No, not necessarily. Responsibility should still play a role, you guys. I am all for taking your time to think things through in order to make a rational decision. I get it. Not everyone will agree with me.
But this is something I wanted so badly forever. I acted on emotions and not rationally at all. I had been so scared to get a dog because of the responsibility (and it’s a TON OF WORK) but seeing the little squirmy puppy who loved me instantly made me decide that the work would be worth it. And it is.
And funny thing is, turns out, the dog I got is 100% not a pug at all. And I don’t even care! I wouldn’t trade the little nugget for anything. It all finds a way to work itself out.
I’m going to Europe.
I never traveled much growing up. In college, I caught the travel bug but even still haven’t seen nearly as much as I have wanted to. Growing up I would dream of traveling to London and even briefly looked at jobs there. I imagined shopping in Paris, drinking sangria in Barcelona, and eating pasta in Italy with my mom. These things sat right on the top of my bucket list next to my pug, having babies and writing a book.
Ever since I turned 25, I’ve been thinking about traveling so much. I’ve booked spontaneous trips to visit friends in different parts of the country and see new towns. I would look every couple of weeks on travel websites and decided I was going to Costa Rica. It just so happened that this was the “starter trip” for this travel company I’d been looking into, aka was also the cheapest. Cool! This could be a good way for me to jump start my traveling.
After a few months of planning to go to Costa Rica in late 2019, life happened. I moved home with my parents (legit because I didn’t know where I wanted to move lol still don’t) and I got a new job. I started thinking about how exciting 2019 was looking. I decided I wanted to give myself the gift of traveling.
I started researching that Costa Rica trip and found another travel company that seemed even more reputable. After some clicking, I came across something incredible. It was a trip, just a few weeks before my 26th birthday, to the three cities I dreamed about going since I was a kid. It’s not Costa Rica. It’s not as cheap as that trip would be. It’s a little scarier, and a little longer of a trip.
But I booked it within an hour. I’m going to Europe.
This trip is easily the most spontaneous thing I’ve ever done, aside from arriving at my parents house unannounced with a four pound puppy who peed on my mom’s bed. It could easily be a disaster. Everything is planned for me, but what if the hotels stink? What if the group I’m traveling with is awful? What if I don’t even like these places?
These things remained on my bucket list. They didn’t get shaken by financial life changes or logistics. They didn’t get pushed further down the list because I took the easier route to do something I wanted to do. I went for it. And I have 0 regrets.
Come May, I’ll be traveling with handfuls of 20-29 year olds from all across the country to three cities I always dreamed of. Because I can.
All of this is to say, the things on your bucket list are there for a reason. Keep an eye on the things that don’t leave your side. Those things are your dreams. And they’re worth jumping the gun for. They’re worth throwing a little bit of caution to the wind.