Planned Spontaneity

Source: flickr.com via Kelly on Pinterest

It took me a long time to realize that, contrary to popular belief, I am not a spontaneous person.

It seems like impulsivity should be my thing. Spontaneity is fun! It adds sparkle! It's unexpected! What's not to love? My primary temperament (sanguine) is associated with spontaneity and my Myers-Briggs type (ENFP) is sometimes labeled the Spontaneous Idealist.

But behold: my 16th birthday. I woke up to the sound of a muffled door handle at 5:30 in the morning. It was pitch black - my birthday is in the middle of January, the dark heart of winter in Minnesota. I jumped straight from my warm bed to my window and saw a group of my closest friends making their way through a fresh blanket of snow toward my front door.

I knew where this was going: They were going to kidnap me, in my pajamas, before I had a chance to shower or curl my hair to put on even a stitch of make-up, and squirrel me away to a birthday breakfast at Perkins, where they would hoot and holler and make fun of me and love on me and generally embarrass me as only a 16-year-old girl can be embarrassed.

Was I charmed by this? Not on your life. I was livid. I ran into my bathroom and locked the door and refused to come out, even when my mom gently pleaded with me through the keyhole that my friends had parental permission to do this, that they meant no harm, that they had gone through a lot of trouble to come surprise me.

I was having none of it! None!

Eventually, my tantrum subsided and I grudgingly agreed to be made much of in my pajamas. I went to Perkins and dutifully ate my pancakes and I may have even relaxed and laughed a time or two by the time the sun was rising.

But that was my first clue. I like spontaneity - if I can control it. Enter the oxymoron: planned spontaneity.

Fast-forward to today. (You just time warped through approximately 25 years. You're welcome.) Both my husband and I have made peace with my bizarre dichotomy. He knows I'm going to appreciate that surprise weekend Up North if I have at least a few days notice. I'm not going to enjoy an impulsive movie night unless the toys are picked up first. I can't relax at the lake knowing I have a towering pile of laundry at home. I need a framework of order to fully embrace the impromptu.

This is why I clean my house every Monday, why I meal plan religiously, why I keep a running To Do list and why I start to freak out if the toys cover more than 45% of the floor's surface. Because the chaos must be contained in order for me to say: Yes, honey, I would love to run and get ice cream with the kids in their pajamas at 9:00 PM.

And if you want to take me to breakfast in my pajamas at 6:00 AM? I'm up for that.

Just call first, so I can put it on my schedule.

19 comments:

  1. I had the exact same thing happen to me, down to the breakfast at Perkins! I think I may have made my friends angry by sleeping in my clothes, I was that adamant I not go to school in my pajamas.

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    1. I'm pretty sure I got to go home first and change; I didn't have to stay in my pajamas all day. Not that I would have cared, really. It was more about being caught off-guard than the sloppiness of my attire. ;-)

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  2. Kelly. You just described my world. This is why I've had a hard time pinning down my ENFJ/P, because I do want to be wild fairy wind child... as long I've scheduled what time the wind will carry me away. I'm going to send this link to my husband now, so he can laugh with me.

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    1. This made my heart sing, Ashleigh. It's always good to know we aren't alone, yes? And your description is perfect. I'm fine with spontaneity as long as it happens between 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM on Tuesdays.

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  3. Hahahah! This is fascinating because I look for ways to be spontaneous so I can avoid house cleaning and cooking and dishes. But I have to admit that it's much more fun when all those things are done. Hmmmm.

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    1. I admire people like you, Joy. Really. I have such a hard time relaxing when there is work to be done.

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  4. I've always told friends (even close ones), Come by anytime...just call first!

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    1. Love. I have friends who live in neighborhoods where people just "stop by." I would hyperventilate.

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  5. As an INTJ, how did we become such good friends? Well, the planned spontaneity connection probably helps :)

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    1. Whoa. You're an INTJ? Corey is an INTJ.

      My whole world just shifted. We need to talk.

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  6. Yep. This describes me fairly well, too. Except I'm always up for a good surprise. But unexpected spontaneity usually makes me itchy.

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    1. The husband of one of my good friends here just planned a surprise party for her 40th birthday. But since he knew she would only have fun under the right conditions, he carefully set everything up so 1. The house was clean, 2. She was dressed up and 3. She was rested BEFORE the party started.

      He is a wise man.

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  7. I am not spontaneous in the least. And don't even get me started about surprise parties. *shudder*

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    1. Shudder is apt. I would have MUCH MORE FUN at a party that I know about. Thankfully, my husband knows this about me.

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  8. My friends surprised me and took me to breakfast for my 29th birthday. I was NOT amused. Now, if it had happened when I was young, I would have been all for it...but my house was a mess, I had deep bags under my eyes and I really could have used a couple more hours of sleep! : )

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    1. Yes. Interrupting my sleep can be a deal breaker.

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  9. A) I want to come steal you away for breakfast in both of our jammies. Could you schedule me in for whenever it's even remotely possible in actual reality? The thought makes me smile so big. That would be a dream come true, wouldn't it?

    B) Me too. And a HUGE part of it is that I just genuinely LOVE to savor the anticipation of good things. A few days will do nicely - but please don't rob me of ANY anticipation at all. Sometimes thinking and dreaming and planning before an upcoming great time can almost be more fun than the great time itself, to me.

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    1. YES! Megan! I love the anticipation too. I think the perfect balance is when Corey says: "I have a surprise planned for us on Saturday. You will need to dress up and be ready to go at 7:00." Then he gets to surprise me but I also get to look forward to a night out. I'm still a little twitchy, without knowing what's going to happen. But at least I'm not caught off-guard and then grouchy about a nice evening out.

      P.S. COME AND KIDNAP ME ANY OLD MORNING, FRIEND!

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  10. Oh. My. Word. I am going to make my husband read this because you have just described me exactly. Although I did not have anyone come and try to kidnap me on my 16th birthday although it is in the dead of winter as well! ;)
    I am an ENFJ or maybe an INFJ since college, but I am so the antithesis of spontaneity. And he is complete spontaneity so much so that when we are planning a major vacation that requires a little bit of foresight he doesn't even want to have an opinion until a few days before we leave on what kinds of activities we might want to do. It makes me twitch thinking about all the things I want to do and that we can't do on such short notice!

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