Actually I want to focus on the mindset and benefits that encourage you to become more spontaneous during your satisfying retirement. I'll also share a recent example from my life. I contend that being over scheduled or closed off to new experiences is not good for you, and is easily changed.
But, first, why should you care? What is there about spontaneity that is helpful to you? What will you gain? Fair questions. I contend that you will:
Have new experiences that could enrich and deepen your life. You might even discover a new passion or interest you didn't know you had.
Add spice to a relationship that has become too predictable. Meet new people and develop new friendships.
Bring some adventure to a static lifestyle. Trying something new doesn't always work out. That's OK. You learn as much about yourself from bad experiences as good ones.
Help conquer unnecessary fears. A lot of us don't try something new or different because fear of failure or embarrassment. Spontaneity doesn't give you time to work yourself into a tizzy. You just do something. There is no opportunity to tell yourself all the reasons why you shouldn't.
Let's stop here so I can emphasize one important point. Being spontaneous doesn't mean you have to try bungee jumping, take a cruise to the South Pacific, or decide to buy a motorcycle this morning and set out on a road trip this afternoon. Spontaneity may mean doing nothing...nothing at all.
Your calendar has a list of commitments or things for you to accomplish today. You look at all of it and decide, nope, today I'm playing hooky. I'm turning off the computer and going to a movie, or maybe reading a book by a lake near my house, or how about cooking a fancy dinner for my wife tonight. You abandon what was predictable and chose to follow a different path...just for the next few hours.
A month or so ago Betty and I had the chance to be spontaneous. I noticed a listing in the paper about a free folk festival happening that coming weekend in the nearby town of Glendale. It was being held a large park that housed an historical ranch, citrus grove and several buildings. After reading about it on the Internet we decided to invest a few hours on Saturday.
What a tremendous experience! I have never seen anything like it. A half dozen different stages and settings (front porches, the maintenance shed, in the wine cellar) featured musical groups performing all day long. We had a choice every 30 minutes to listen to bluegrass, country, folk duos, banjo pickers or Irish ensembles. Dancing troupes in colorful southwest costumes performed on a stage in the middle of a palm tree field.
Dozens of impromptu jam sessions occurred all day as guitar players would gather under a tree and simply start playing together. Two fellows sang sea shanty songs for almost an hour, telling stories behind each song and inviting the audience to sing along. A half dozen auto harp players found each other and discussed the ins and outs of this unique instrument. A blacksmith demonstrated his almost-lost art in a 100 year old blacksmith shop.
|The Dirtbilly JugNots...Who wouldn't love that name!|
|Playing with a few new friends under the trees|
The festival actually ran all day Sunday, too. But, other commitments that couldn't be abandoned meant we missed it. But, that simple act of changing our plans and trying something new gave us a unique experience that we will be sure to include in our planning for next March. Being spontaneous paid off in a big way.
How about you? When have you chucked the calendar or plans and done something "just because?" Are you glad you did? Should you be that way more often? Can you plan to be spontaneous?
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