I think that spontaneity is one of the most desirable traits.
I look for it in myself, and I look for it in other people. But I seldom find it. It seems to me that many (perhaps most) people are satisfied with living a simpler sort of life. I don’t think there is anything wrong with this. But why is that?
Is the draw of a simpler life the result of the intense, human feeling of comfort? We gain comfort through stability. It makes sense, then, that to avoid discomfort we would avoid instability.
However, comfort and stagnation are two sides of the same coin. Without experiencing discomfort we may not grow. It is the process of being thrust out of our comfort zone–either through events in our lives or by our own accord–that we become matured. Through the willful collection of reference experiences, we gain more to fall back on; we build our foundations.
When I think back on the things I have done, it is clear which memories are the most vivid. It is the uncomfortable ones. But in memory, the negative emotions I may have felt in the presence have faded away. I am able to look back fondly upon most of my memories. I try to hold this knowledge in my mind: whatever negative emotions I may experience in the moment, they will fade. Insults, rejections, physical discomforts–their sting disappears. Some of my happiest memories are those made in uncomfortable situations.
We can apply this. On one level, an individual is a collection of his or her memories. If one can hold a hugely varied collection of memories, won’t one be also hugely varied? Wouldn’t that make one more sophisticated, more compelling? And–if uncomfortable memories become happy in the end–wouldn’t that make one happier? We should not be afraid to make uncomfortable memories. In the end, they will cease to be so.
I often do things just for the sake of doing them. If there’s no compelling reason not to, why not? Why not do it anyway, even if it’s late, or it’s far, or I’m already exhausted? It doesn’t matter. There doesn’t have to be a reason. Experiencing things in those ways broadens my life. It is living a full story, not a brochure. I think one of the most despicable things is to follow a preset track when one has independent dreams.
Spontaneity, when not tempered by responsibility, can lead to negative outcomes. Things don’t always go the way you plan. People can end up disappointed; important projects can remain unfinished. But I’ve found that simply the effort of pushing yourself out into the world is enough. It seems as if your mind, or the world, recognizes your efforts. It rewards you with new confidence, a result of any new experience. It doesn’t matter if you fail. Once you try, you win.