It should be noted that the two of us are very different people. Sometimes it's quite humorous, our differences, and sometimes incredibly frustrating...on both our ends. She tends to approach life in a "let's get things done" mentality, where checklists and strategic planning are best friends. Meanwhile, I wouldn't call myself flighty, but I do enjoy the back roads of life and don't mind a good detour if it brings refreshment or helps me cross paths with something interesting. On the contrary, sometimes I seek these outlets. In our conversation, our differences were never more evident. I guess both approaches have their upsides and downsides, and I'm very thankful that she is an "on point" person most of the time. It definitely makes it easier in my worst "head-in-the-clouds" moments.
But Thursday morning we noticed that our recent approaches to life were quite mechanical, and in many ways, compartmentalized...likely a byproduct of our daily attempts to squeeze every ounce of productivity out of each day in order to keep up with the hectic pace that in many ways we have created.
After a long conversation and a decision to put off our "free day" plans until Friday, it was concluded that we needed to try to be somewhat spontaneous with our time, as paradoxical as that sounds. Plans were not totally outlawed, but if anything, we needed to plan to be spontaneous. We wouldn't simply drive to the city, make our scheduled stops for supplies, kill ourselves to be productive and turn around and come back with a completed checklist and exhausted hearts. This trip we would allow for some adventure, some rabbit-trails, some venturing away from the norm. And we did.
We walked in a mall. We looked around stores. We bought cheese and tea. We talked and drove. We slipped across the ice and snow-covered Walnut Street Bridge in freezing temperatures, and when we got to the other side, we got ice cream and coffee at a little shop. The details aren't really important though, because it was an experience that wasn't a sum of its products but rather something much more intangible. And somehow letting go of control for a day was a lot less threatening than you would think.
If each life were a photo album to be viewed surely what you would see would be a lot of haphazard shots, seemingly random moments, interspersed with the occasional "staged" photos that lend order to an otherwise chaotic world. What we noticed Thursday morning was that most of what we saw from our own photo album of memories was a lot of canned group shots spread out over large tracks of time with a lot of nothing in between. There was no doubt that the "in betweens" had happened, but there was little to verify their existence. So "Adventure Day I" was born and will likely have many sequels.
Sometimes life needs to come to you, and you need to just let it happen or you're going to die. At times, you've got to wipe the slate clean of all expectations, take a deep breath, turn off the phone and see what is happening around you without checklists and plans hovering over your shoulder demanding productivity. At least that's what I came away with Friday.
What we need is to allow the unexpected to happen, even walk straight into its path, and potentially let it take our breath away.