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Signs You've Begun the "Losing Spontaneity" Stage of Life
photo by WanderingtheWorld


 Remember when, in your twenties, a friend would call and ask you to join her for a run? Me neither. No one ever asked me to go for a run. I wouldn’t be caught dead running.

Ok, let’s say she called and said, “Do you want to go for a walk?” To that I’d reply, “Yeah, sure. I’ll meet you at the park.”

But my response to a question like this, these days, is very different. That’s because I’ve entered the “losing spontaneity” stage of life. You’ll recognize it in yourself if you start to talk like Woody Allen in Hannah and her Sisters.

These days when someone asks if I want to go for a walk, my first response is, “A walk?” Then, “Now?”

Once it’s established that the friend indeed said walk and meant now, I mumble something about how I haven’t had my coffee yet, and that I can’t go anywhere without coffee.

“I’ll meet you in 45 minutes,” I say to my friend.

“It takes you 45 minutes to have coffee?”

“Well, I need to eat something. I can’t drink coffee on an empty stomach.”

“Okay, fine. I’ll come over and pick you up.”

When my friend arrives I’m practically ready to go. I welcome her inside while I run (walk) to the mudroom for my running (walking) shoes. Two minutes later she’s at the door of the mudroom. “What are you doing?”

I’m on all fours looking under the shoe bench. “I can’t find my left orthotic. I can’t go on a walk without them.”

“I didn’t know you wore orthotics.”

“Ever since the plantar fasciitis, I can’t walk to the damn bathroom without them. Which, I’ll have you know; I walk to frequently.”

My friend gets on the floor to help me find it. “We better hurry,” she says “it’s supposed to rain around lunchtime.” We find the left orthotic; I gear up, grab my sunscreen and slather SPF 75 all over my exposed skin.

“You’re not gonna need that,” says my friend, “it’s about to rain.”

“It doesn’t matter,” I say, “that medication for my arrhythmia makes me photosensitive. I can get a sunburn in the dark.”

My friend claps her hands like a coach. “Let’s go.”

 I slip the sunscreen into my backpack while reaching for my nose spray from my fleece pocket.  I give the left nostril two squirts. “The leaves at the park are gonna kill me. Did they remove those yet?”

“I don’t think they remove leaves from a park.”

“Well, those leaves are just one big mold pile now. You should know that I’m crazy allergic to mold.” Two squirts in the right nostril. “It could trigger a maniacal sneezing frenzy. I never used to care about sneezing fits, but now with the arrhythmia, it can really spell trouble. Just fyi, if that happens on our walk don’t hesitate to call 911. I don’t wanna have a heart attack in the park so that gossipy tennis lady who I sometimes get stuck playing doubles with will see me foaming at the mouth.”

“I don’t think you foam at the mouth when you’re having a heart attack. But if you prefer, we could go for a hike in the reservation. We don’t have to go to the park.”

“No. What are you crazy? The park has a bathroom. I can’t go on a hike where there’s no bathroom. Come to think of it, I need to go right now.”

“I’ll wait in the car,” says my friend.

I run to the car and we pull out of my driveway. “This is gonna be fun,” I say. I breathe in deeply, “Nothing like fresh air tinged with the smell of rain. I just love days like today. Great “walk in the park” weather.”

Before we get very far, the skies open up and unload torrential rain. It gets so fierce that my friend needs to pull over to the side of the road and wait for it to lighten up.

She takes a look at her watch and then over at me. “Wanna go for something to eat. It’s practically lunch time.”

“Lunch? Now? Without my Lactaid…?”

14 Comment count
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It's one of those situations

It's one of those situations when I want to laugh but know it actually isn't funny.  I admire your talent for poking fun at yourself.  I love your writing style.

I have become more spontaneous with age (although even more of a hypochondriac) but then, when I was young, I was scared of anything spontaneous.  Now that I am 47, I am getting the sense that I never really allowed myself to be young, so am trying – not to catch up (for, alas, I missed that particular train) – but to invent a middle-aged kind of freshness of outlook.  Before you get too impressed, this is very much a work in progress. 

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Oh, but I am impressed!

It takes life experience and perspective to become self-aware enough to know how one wants to live, and what one wants to get out of life. How could any young person know the value and joy of spontaneity? Young people live spontaneously, but they don't they do. Discovering and choosing spontaneity later in life is way sweeter! 

I just decided my New Year's Resolution. Thanks, Katherine!

PS. Please laugh if you feel it coming on - that's why I write!

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Have you seen the splendid

Have you seen the splendid film An American in Paris, with Gene Kelly? In the first few minutes, actor Georges Guétary says, 

"I don't mean to imply that I'm old – I'm not.  I'm only – well, what's the difference? Let's just say that I am old enough to know what to do with my young feelings."

Don't you love it?

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I love it indeed!

Perfect. I love that movie. Might be time to see it again. Great reference, thanks Katherine.

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I laughed the whole way

I laughed the whole way through, Eva. You write wit with such ease. Fabulous! m

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thanks for sharing a laugh

thanks for sharing a laugh with me, Mary. It is always great to see you, E

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Eva--As we mature, so true

Eva--As we mature, so true but scary.  Thanks for such a good laugh--definitely more spontaneity in my life, from now on!    :) J

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Yes, good idea, New Year's

Yes, good idea, New Year's Resolution 2013: more spontaneity. I'll plan on that. Thanks for stopping by Judee!

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It's 40 below here, and it's

It's 40 below here, and it's hard to spontaneate about much of anything, if it involves being outside.

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If it were 40 degrees below

If it were 40 degrees below zero here, I'm sure I'd be useless inside or out. Although it's good writing weather! Thanks for reading.

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I think it's pretty funny you can plan to be more spontaneous.  That's kind of an oxymoron but I get it.  I would like to add more spontaneity to my plan as well.  It's just that my feet merge with the floor when I come into my living room and it's nearly impossible to move back out the door again.  I enjoyed this one.

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Thanks for stopping by Anne!

Thanks for stopping by Anne! I know what you mean about getting settled in. Especially in the winter. I am probably part bear, I do love a good hibernation. But look on the positive side, if you are a writer and a reader, at least there's no pull to go outside!

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Very funny!  Although I am only 32, I can relate anyway!  I feel a sense of relief knowing that others live the same way.  At some point in our lives, health issues become the priority which can easily take over :)

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Lisa, thank you for stopping

Lisa, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I must confess to a teensy-weensy bit of exaggeration for the sake of the Woody Allen effect, however I am crazy allergic to mold and have a hopelessy weak bladder... way TMI, I know, sorry... but you're right how sometimes age has nothing to do with it - I'm sure I was complaining about something 15 years ago!