I guess most people that know me would say that I’m always on the go and looking for adventure – even spontaneous. But truth be known, most of my working week is rigorously structured. It has to be, and distractions have to be kept at a minimum, so that I can put my full energy, concentration and thinking into the hours that I spend with my clients.
During the week, my early morning regime of exercise, brekkie and dog-walking is all pre-planned. I know what I shall be cooking for lunch, or where I will be going to eat it. And most evenings follow a pattern of dog walking, a pop down the club, cooking and a bit of family time. All slight variations on a theme.
Come the weekend, I’m far less likely to resist the urge for spontaneity and far more likely to go off piste (yes, I do mean ‘piste’!). This Saturday was no exception – and it really came up trumps.
Mr and Mrs Stalkie and twin junior Stalkies were due to drive from our Stalkie HQ in Dorset to London on Saturday to watch step-daughter Maisie perform in a matinee of the musical Jane Eyre. We were also going to be meeting my in-laws in London and driving them back after the show so that they could stay with us for a few days.
Rather than take two cars, I negotiated a pass with Mrs Stalkie and opted to take the train to London instead. Arriving at Waterloo station, I had an urge to call my daughter Skye who now lives in North London – not only did she answer first time (rare), she also agreed to come and meet me in the centre of town for lunch. While we were on the phone, I asked if her friend Daisy (a life long friend) would also like to join us. “Daisy’s working in The Ivy restaurant today”, Skye replied.
Less than an hour later, there we were. Thanks to Daisy, I managed to bag a prime table at The Ivy – one of London’s most sought after, perpetually fully-booked, finery dineries – where I spent some quality time with both Skye and Daisy as you can see from the snaps we took!
We had a legendary bite to eat, before joining up with the rest of the Stalkie clan to enjoy a stunning show that captivated me more than I had ever imagined it would. I was such a proud father that day.
Embracing the flow made for a beautiful day, which wasn’t even dampened by the Scots outplaying and out-passioning us in the rugby at Murrayfield! It was difficult not to admire so many powerful examples of spontaneity throughout much of that match too – sporran-taneity maybe?!
So, what did I learn this weekend? That spontaneity releases dopamine, the magical happiness neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. Dopamine helps regulate movement and emotional responses, enabling us to see rewards, and take action to move towards them (it got the Scots over the try line three times in the first half and ‘sent us homeward tae think again’!).
Apart from being the Flower of Scotland this weekend, spontaneity is a spice of life that can benefit all our moods and our well-being. It challenges the stale, keeps us fresh. It contributes to a flexible, open-minded approach to life in which confrontation, obstinacy and obstacles can be overridden.
Spontaneity allows us to give our creative juices an opportunity to flow and not to be confined by self-imposed boundaries, it allows us to deal with the unexpected and not get stressed if things lead us outside our comfort zone.
I recommend we should all have a wee snifter of spontaneity on a regular basis