Plans vs. Spontaneity - Struggling to Balance / by Michelle Cowan

Do I rely too much on structured plans? Is it okay that I cry out for them? I do. I can take a few instances of instability, not knowing where I will go or what I will do in a day, having all of that taken out of my control. I can deal with some hiccups and unpredictability, but those instances add up, and I often find myself confused and desperate at the end of a long series of changed plans and uncertain days. I crave a scheduled appointment, a night when I know what I will be doing. I crave the steadiness of a routine day.

Is this a weakness? I frequently do things and accept people/events into my life that challenge my tendency toward a type-A lifestyle. I try to stretch my boundaries. But the experiments and attempts to overcome my thirst for absolute order (and perfection, really), leave me exhausted.

I need some stability. I need a measure of security. I can advance beyond my daily to-dos, but I can also take refuge in them. I don't like the carpet pulled out from under me too often. This is simply a personality characteristic. I function best with a measure of routine. But I also need the stimulation of stepping beyond my self-imposed boundaries.

So there I am, hoping that I am advancing at a quick enough rate, all the while knowing, cerebrally, that no timetable exists to mark my progress and grade me pass or fail in my ability to be flexible. I am so much more relaxed than I used to be. My life is freer and more open to spontaneity than ever. But I must come home to a regular rhythm now and again - frequently, in fact.

This is okay. I am making progress day by day. And seeing that I need the stability of knowing when I will need to break out of my independent path helps me give myself what I need. I can make sure that I have a few predictable things on my schedule while remaining open to the unknown, the potential excitement of surprise events and invitations. I remain open to the fluctuation of my feelings. My schedule does not trap me; it is all mine and can be changed to facilitate an expanding life.

I can have both scheduled, plan-oriented friends and spontaneous, unstructured friends in my life. I love them all. But I love myself enough to balance my experience of the two. Ultimately, I want to be able to give of my time liberally to both while maintaining my own sanity. This is what I'm working on today. I am just as I should be right now. I know more and more what I need and see what others need and what they have to give.

My goal is to not be bound by schedules and plans, but rather, to accept plans because they enable me to love myself and others more while embracing the rush of life I find when allowing my feelings and the flow of life to guide me. I want to let go while still functioning in a world where connection requires a little schedule-coordination. Personal freedom always comes first. At least, I believe this today.