This post started out as a few pieces of advice on how to make your life more spontaneous but quickly turned into tangent rant about cliches. If you wish to read about spontaneity, please scroll down quickly towards the second half of the post. If you wish to read about why I hate cliches, read on.
It is said that it’s the little things in life that count — a phrase I don’t wholeheartedly subscribe to, but I believe that it applies in the case of spontaneity. In general, I’m not a fan of cliches and popular sayings since I don’t always agree with most of them, and some of them seem to contradict each other.
Take for instance when you’re wondering whether to text that your crush who barely knows you exist… do you follow “absence makes the heart grow fonder?” or “out of sight, out of mind” cliche? Those who try to play hard to get will subscribe to the first cliche, hoping that their
victim lover will miss them in the absence. Those who are fear driven stalkers will subscribe to the second cliche and make sure that they are never out of sight and therefore never out of their victim’s lover’s mind. There’s a catchphrase for everyone and every contradictory theory if you look hard enough.
These three cliches really
grind my gears annoy me the most:
- Great minds think alike. This isn’t even true. All the greatest minds are considered great because they DIDN’T think alike, that’s why they were innovative! Einstein, Voltaire, and Darwin all thought differently than most everyone else. Minds thinking alike is usually a symptom of low intelligence and a component of the negative aspects of humanity. Ex., WWII, racism, people who watch Jersey Shore.
- What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Maybe this is true for Kanye and Kelly Clarkson — who both have songs about this cliche, and emphasize my above statement about “great minds thinking alike” — it is not true for many people. What doesn’t kill you can sometimes make you depressed, debilitated, delusional, etc. Yet people still seem to chant this way through hard times as if it were a fact.
- It is what it is. Is this phrase ever helpful? I understand the sentiment is about acceptance, but when people say this to me I can only respond with a blank stare. Muy unsatisfying.
Now that this is out of my system, let’s carry on with the original point of this post, shall we? *Cheerleader clap*
How To Be More Spontaneous
It’s important to do something small everyday that gets your out of your predictable routine so that when you have an opportunity to be largely spontaneous, it won’t feel so foreign.
- Keep a journal. Note that there is a big difference between a journal and a diary. Diaries bring to mind pictures of poets weeping over ink splotched pages of emotion. Journals bring to mind adventure and excitement. Keeping a journal helps hold you accountable for your day if you commit to writing in it regularly. It’s easier to follow through with an uninhibited spontaneous thought if you have some accountability! I am absolutely terrified of becoming old and senile, and reading back on my journals thinking, “wow. I was so boring!” Nobody likes a boring book, and nobody wants a boring life. Do not let your old and senile future self down! Make sure that you have something interesting to write about every day! Luckily, I have made journaling a habit and can even share with you a small entry,
June 3, 1998. Age 7
“Last week Kylie and I dumped a box of sugar on the bathroom floor before we went on vacation to Lake Pal. Today when we got back there was lots of ants a hole colony. The floor was black with ants. We saw three queen ants and they were in the sink to. Dad said he never seen so many ants in his hole life. Kylie is growing crystals in the backyard but some of them got moldy so we threw them over the fence.”
Now doesn’t that sound like a great day? Dumping sugar on the floor, though not advised, is indeed spontaneous and I remember this day fondly (unlike my dad who spent who knows how long trying to rid his home of our new ant invaders).
- Talk to strangers. I know, I know. This tip alerts your 5 year old self into STRANGER DANGER mode! Meeting new people forces you to go outside your typical self (the side you let come out around your friends) and every new person you meet carries the potential for new adventures. You never know who someone really is unless you make an effort to talk to them — these new people might have interesting things to share with you or invite you to, and that will open the doors for more activities. If the person turns out to be absolutely nutters, that will give you something to write about in your journal!
- Sign up for events–even if you don’t know what it is. This is also my number one piece of advice for freshman in college. If you sign up for something you don’t usually do (like vinnasnsmamamasasa yoga), you might hate it, or you might love it. Even if you hate it, you’re still likely to meet people who hate it as well and you can bond over your loathing of whatever you’re doing. This is actually how I met my best friend (love you Chelsea!) — we met at an informational meeting about an academic fraternity and decided that it wasn’t for us. Even though signing up for something new did not turn me into greek geek, I still was able to meet my best friend and had a positive experience from it.Some notable positive experiences: joining an ultimate frisbee team–team DTF–Down To Frisbee, skydiving, hip hop class, bungee jumping in Costa Rica, a tour of a coffee plantation.Some notable… less positive experiences: Spin class, yoga–the only good part is nap time at the end, salsa lessons (took place in a basement with a 10:1 guy to girl ratio, imagine being a dog treat thrown into a pack of unbathed wolves).
- Start taking “weird” as a compliment. Even though my days of highlighter colored eyeshadow, sharply layered black hair, and my screamo filled iPod are all left back in 2004, people still call me weird. I’ve come to accept that being “weird” is not only a characteristic of certain social groups, but its a classification of behavior as well. Sometimes weird can mean creepy, but most of the time weird means different. I challenge you to start embracing the ‘different’ definition of weird — and this means doing things that are outside of what most people would do normally. Don’t inhibit yourself because you fear what others may think. A tactic of mine is wearing extremely fashionable outerwear in formal places. Ex.,
I think you probably get the idea. The outfit makes the man… I kid, I kid (I dislike cliches, remember?)
Weird should now be synonymous with interesting.
- Lastly, learn to forget about planning. Obviously there are times when planning is necessary, but in your free time, be sure to go somewhere new and simply wander around. This is stress free tactic that allows you to do anything interesting that pops up in your adventure!
And there you have it, small steps to a more spontaneous life!