Spontaneity Revisited (Like Brideshead, except with spontaneity. And also not at all like Brideshead.)

You know the old saying If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it?

(I think it’s Lucille Ball’s wisdom—and I totally love her—but please.)

Don’t ask me to do your something.

Not that I’m busier than everyone else, or even ANYONE else. What I am is easily overwhelmed, and the only thing I ever want a lot of on my plate is french fries.

Being easily overwhelmed is a weakness, but I’m halfway-ish through my life, so I might as well get real.

I don’t back out of things or say no in the first place because I’m a flake or lazy. (Usually. On occasion I’m both.)

Sometimes I just need to take a beat and catch my breath. Tune out the noise.

When I suggested I was an introvert, people were shocked. Then I discovered the term ambivert and thought that might be more accurate.

Or maybe the correct label for me is simply annoying tight-ass.

Here’s the deal: Having a lot of balls in the air is uncomfortable for me. I prefer my balls lined up on a (clean?) counter while I address them individually, in order of necessity and/or ease.

Right now I’m juggling a lot of balls, though. And I only have two hands and usually they’re writing or shoving french fries into my mouth or sweeping.

None of my current balls are terrible. Besides the sweeping, everything’s pretty great.

I have a job I love at two local libraries; a new novel I love launching October 8th; a draft of my next book in revisions (that I love so far, too); and both my kids are home from college. I super-duper love them.

There’s also my husband who still likes to see me on occasion. This month is our 22-year anniversary. <—Cue more love.

Oh, and I have three dogs. Love OVERLOAD. (Plus licks on my face and a lot of shedding.)

So I come home from the library and finish sweeping, and Karly says, “Oh good! You’re not at work! You wanna watch something with me?” And my answer is, “Yes. Yes, I do.”

I say no to almost everything but work and family.

Which is fine, except that after spring break, I promised to start saying yes to ALL THE BALLS. I sounded my barbaric yawp of SPONTANEITY across the rooftops of the world!

As it turns out, though, spontaneity is harder to embrace when your feet are sore and you’re staring down a plateful of french fries.

“Ah,” you say. “Julie! That’s where BALANCE comes in!”

And to that I say, “BALANCE is stupid.”

(Hear me out.)

Balance accepts that we already cram so much stuff into our schedules that “making room for everything” is its own dang job.

Which is awesome if you like having a super-full schedule.

But a super-full schedule, as it turns out, is hard for me.

So is writing and sweeping.

Then there’s the easy stuff like loving your family and friends and eating. And the nearly-impossible stuff like navigating pain and suffering (our own and others’); and other big wrenches get thrown in like unemployment, illness, deaths, births, marriages, moves, promotions.

To cope with all this, some people call themselves extroverts and pack their calendars.

Others crawl into a cave and call themselves introverts.

A few discover the word ambivert and think MAYBE THIS IS WHAT I AM!

I say, “Nah, I’m just an annoying tight-ass.”

I guess what I’m working out here is there’s no right way to be. One person’s advice or goals won’t necessarily work for anyone else.

It’s hard enough to accept who we are without slapping a label on ourselves and trying to change it.

Maybe we need to stop labeling and start applauding each other for getting through this life the best way we can. (A special shout-out to those who think they’re not even managing that.)

And now that I think about it, BEST is a hard word, too. Even BETTER is a little competitive.

BE might be better. (But I won’t say BE is the BEST word because that would defeat the purpose.)

Starting right here, right now, let’s stop worrying about being good, better, or best.

Let’s just BE.

For as long as we can.

With as little sweeping as possible.

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4 thoughts on “Spontaneity Revisited (Like Brideshead, except with spontaneity. And also not at all like Brideshead.)

  1. You had me at “French Fries”.

    Not too long ago (yet, it was when I worked a different job, so it feels like a lifetime ago), I heard a coworker commenting that she & her family had “something” planned for every night that week. And I sat, dumbfounded — not at the fact that someone might have some sort of scheduled activity every evening, but that there are people for whom this is NOT the norm.

    I, honestly, don’t know if I prefer to have my balls lined up on the counter, ready for triage — because they’re always, all, in the air, at once. You catch the one that’s closest to falling, and throw it back up before the next one hits the ground.

    (I am a spectacularly awful juggler)

    The pace of life . . . probably isn’t the healthiest for me. I know this — it’s why I talk to a counselor, but it DOES lead to a strange zen-state. You see, when it feels that you’re always *just* barely keeping things together, barely providing enough support so that the world doesn’t evolve to complete & utter chaos, you don’t find stuff to stress about. There’s just a continual stress – it’s not really overwhelming, because if you let it overwhelm you, chaos. So you just keep things going. Don’t think. Do.

    Some day, I’ll plan. And relax. And figure out what I *want* to be doing. For now, though? I just do.

  2. Jessica

    Hello. I agree with you about “Balance”. Then I won’t worry about being good, better, neither the best. I’ll just be ME as well. This is the way to live.

  3. I love your title so much – it’s an example of your perfect sense of humor. And I think you’re just about perfect too, even though you’re a semi-regular ball-dropper. None of the important ones fall, and you always manage to make me feel like an important one.

  4. Your life of writing and family and a bit of tidying sounds perfect to me beautiful Julie. I’d be interested to get your grandmothers take on this! Thanks for a good post.

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