Spontaneity: voluntary or undetermined action or movement (www.m-w.com)

I was thinking tonight in the shower (because it seems as if I only ever think when I’m showering or running) about how little spontaneity I have in my life the older I get.  While I’ve always been far from a spontaneous person (no random cross country road trips for me), I’ve always had a twinge of it, much like I’ve always had a bit of creativity.  It has come to my attention that like my creativity, I need to take some action to inspire myself to find that once spontaneous portion of my character.

I am a perfectionist.  Not necessarily in the way that I believe everything has to be perfect, but rather certain categories must be perfect according to my own internal standards.  Cleaning ranks very high on that list of categories with regularly exercising vying for a top spot as well.  In my goal to create my “perfect life” it seems as if I have routinized myself to the point of having little to no spontaneity. 

There are some things that consume my time that will always be a given such as my work schedule.  I also am fairly strict about going to bed at the same time and with the exception of weekends and holidays, getting up at the same time also.  I like being able to wake up without the alarm clock going off most days, and how much healthier I feel having my body on a set sleep schedule.  The hours I spend outside of work and sleep, however, are mine for the choosing.  Instead of utilizing this “free time” to engage in unplanned, carefree activities, I tend to create a strict schedule for myself.  Each week I mentally map out which evenings I will be working out including what workout I will do, which evenings I will clean and what I will clean, and which evenings I will make quick dinners vs more time consuming ones.  I do “schedule” more fun things such as watching The Originals on Tuesdays at 8 and The Vampire Diaries on Thursdays at 8.  In fact, my schedule including dinner tends to be developed around those two evenings knowing those nights will automatically have an hour deducted from them.  Nearly every evening when my boyfriend Jason gets home we will watch a show on Netflix or play a game together on the Kindle before watching The Daily Show at 11.  On the weekends we almost always go out to eat Saturday evening followed by going to the grocery store.  Sunday mornings are typically reserved for making breakfast together.  While our weekends aren’t as ritualized as my evenings during the week, the routine of them does become apparent after some time.

It’s not that routine is a bad thing.  I find I get a lot more accomplished with having a routine.  Most families would not function well without somewhat of a dictated routine.  I just find that in having one, I lose the chance to be spontaneous.  In fact, I often get upset if unplanned things disrupt my routine because then I find I must reconfigure it in my head.  I am much more appreciative of things being planned out.  I always know in advance which weekends my parents are going to visit and which I am going to visit them.  I like the fun of planning vacations in advance, ironing out all the details as the trip approaches.  Random unplanned weekend getaway?  Can’t say I’ve ever experienced one.

Much like rediscovering a way to be creative, I know I must find a way to be more spontaneous.  It seems almost like an oxymoron though… “I must plan on being more spontaneous.”  It adds adventure and fun and interest to life.  The unpredictability I’m sure works the brain in ways that following the same old routine doesn’t.  It also gives a chance to explore something new, take a chance, figure out something about yourself.  I found blogging as a way to rediscover my creativity.  Now I just need to find a trigger for spontaneity.

Spontaneity: v…

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Music’s Memories

I read somewhere that scent is the strongest sense tied to memory.  If that is the case then I believe music is the strongest media source tied to memory.

I’m sure there is some scientific reason that for most of us we can recall the words to a song more easily than we can recall a conversation we had last week or notes we studied last night.  Even if it’s been years since we heard a song after a few words most of us can start singing along to it.  When I moved north I quickly realized that their rock stations played the same songs over and over much like the pop stations in York did.  This caused me to rediscover my love of country music because the two country stations up here are great in terms of playing a variety of songs.  This includes songs that I grew up listening to and hadn’t heard in many years.  The first time I heard a few of them I recalled the lyrics without any issue. 

Many of these songs took me back to my childhood and triggered lots of memories.  This caused me to start thinking about just how many songs I have heard in my life that will always be tied to some event in my life.  I will never be able to listen to “My Maria” by Brooks and Dunn without thinking about my grandma.  She had it on a single cassette and played it in her teal Neon more times than I cared to recall at the time.  I remember silently begging her to play something else or at least flip the tape over.  Now I listen to that song and smile.  She taught me how to do the Macarena so needless to say I’ll never be able to hear that again without picturing us in the backyard practicing the moves.  Speaking of learning dances, Nsync’s “Bye Bye Bye” will always conjure images of my mom doing the routine in the living room.  She taped an episode of Rosie with the band doing the song and played it half a dozen (or more) times until she learned to do the dance.  I think playing songs over and over is a Toomey woman thing because like grandma, my mom is notorious for playing songs to death.  My sister performed Britney Spears’ “Lucky” in a talent show, and my mom played the song so many times that for a long time I couldn’t listen to it.

I remember dancing with my cousin Shila to “Quit Playing Games (with my heart)” by the Backstreet Boys at a New Year’s Eve party.  Listening to any Backstreet Boy song now takes me back to my years in middle school.  My friend Josh got me into rock music in high school by burning me a copy of a Nickelback CD.  A lot of their older songs along with Staind and Linkin Park’s take me back to bus rides to track meets as they were my choice warm up music.  “Headstrong” by Trapt became the song I had to listen to before any race I ran in track.  Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” brings back memories of my senior Homecoming.  “Thanks for the Memories” by Fall Out Boy reminds me of another Homecoming I attended.

Just as songs can recall good memories for us, many can also trigger flashbacks of times that hurt us or just memories that are too emotionally hard to recall.  If I hear Boys Like Girls’ “Hero/Heroine” play I have to turn it off.  I played “Over and Over” by Three Days Grace and “It’s Not Over” by Daughtry too many times to count when I had my heart broken.  I found myself blaring the hardest rock I had at the time as well. 

Music seems to be able to take us to other places mentally because it reminds us of certain things.  I think that’s one reason I’ve grown so fond of country music lately as well.  While I’m not a full “country girl” (no cowgirl hat and boots for me), I do have a little redneck in me.  Bonfires and tuff truck competitions are what summers are meant for to me.  A lot of Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan’s music is just feel good, remind you of a rural area and redneck activity kind of music.  It makes me feel closer to home even with being 3 hours away. 

As I glance down over my list of music on Itunes I can say two things for certain.  One – I have a rather varied taste in music.  Two – I can probably recall a memory for a lot of the songs on the list.  Time changes a lot and can cause us to forget a lot, but just like the lyrics to old songs, the memories we’ve tied to certain songs seem to never truly fade from our minds.