Spontaneity Isn’t Dead After All


I’m a super scheduled kinda gal. I like to have set times for set things. I think there are a couple of reasons for this; number one is I have kids. Number two comes from going to college as an adult. I think the third explanation is from growing up in a large family. The Ellis Clan was spontaneous and still is for the most part. Although I loved the sense of adventure my childhood had, there was also a sense of instability—instead of acting on a laid out plan, I had to react to changes hurled at me—thus as an adult, I schedule, schedule, and schedule.

I’ve gotten so rigid that I’m practically paralyzed when there’s a change in plan. This need for control also makes me un-fun.

Last Saturday, my husband, Brian, asked me to go for a ride with him. I immediately came up with a list of why-there-was-no-way-we-could-blow-off-a-perfectly-good-Saturday-and-go-for-a-ride (see what I mean? I’m no fun at all!)

After some convincing, we jumped in his mini Coupe and headed to Evanston, Wyoming, leaving our kids and our dog behind.

We drove the 85-mile distance along I80 through steep, winding canyons, listening to a Podcast. An hour and a half later we arrived in Evanston and stopped at the very first gas station in our line of sight. Out front was a small sign advertising the sale of PowerBall Jackpot tickets. In Utah, lotteries are seen as gambling and are therefore illegal, so of course, everybody drives to either Idaho or Wyoming competing for the winning number pick.

Brian and I talked about doing something like this someday. Neither of us had ever tried our hand at the lottery and had no idea how to fill one out let alone had a winning number strategy. The amount last week was over a whopping $500,000,000.

The Cashiers in the Evanston Chevron were two ladies in their late fifties or early sixties. They told us how to fill our sheets and didn’t get upset when each of us still managed to fill them out incorrectly. We stopped at a Costa Vida for lunch and then headed home with our lottery tickets. We won—eight dollars!

Then last night Brian and I did another spontaneous thing; we went to a Depeche Mode concert at the USANA Amphitheater in West Valley City. I was a huge Depeche Mode fan in the early 1990’s—back then the sign of D.M. enthusiasts was to dress in black like we were little black rain clouds. Luckily for me, Brian was also a big fan, though neither one of us ever wore all black—we’re both a bit counter-culturalistic; living on the fringe of the fringe (it’s one of the things that drew us together).

We arrived late to the concert, missing the front band. We passed through the gates and as was expected, into a sea of black. The weather was faultless. The audience was like being home, and the music was like a dream.

Bry and I laid on a blanket, on the grass, under the stars listening to one of my all time favorite bands—I’d had a similar experience when I was sixteen, only it was at a Seattle Planetarium with my grandmother and sisters and involved synthetic stars and recorded Depeche Mode music. It was much better this time.

I had a blast with each new experience, so did Brian. No, we didn’t win the lottery. Yes, we bought black t-shirts for the concert (but only shirts. Our bottom halves donned gray jeans).

It made me realize that I can rip up the To-Do lists every once in a while. That there’s a need to break out of the family calendar and do something unlike our regular, everyday selves, not to just exist, but to live! I’m looking forward to my next adventure. I’ve already started scheduling it!

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