Want to know my secret?

I plan to be adventurous and spontaneous.

In fact, my whole life is in preparation to be able to make those spontaneous, adventurous moments possible.

I stay in shape so that I can do fun active things at a moments (or days or weeks) notice.

I save my money into an nondescript “non-designated adventure fund”. (I also have many designated saved funds for specific big, longer-planner trips/activities.) This way I can make the decision to use these for-whatever-i-want adventure funds when opportunities arise (or when I create them).

I save my vacation time and my sick days and I plan ahead the most lucrative ways to use my time off (and my general free time). So when someone becomes my friend and is like, “Hey, let’s go to Europe next month,” I can be like, “yeah, I’ve got vacation days for that.”

I also try not to procrastinate, as I know that this leads to lack of accessibility for adventure. When I’ve put something off too long, and then the chance for adventure knocks, I’m left having to decide to be responsible and do you work, or say yes to the adventure. But if I do my work ahead of time, I can do both. In fact, when I do my work ahead of time, then I have the room in my schedule to be able to look around and ask “What fun thing could I do right now?”

The saddest part about procrastination is that I am most guilty of doing meaningless things with my time while I wait for the deadline to approach.  In college I made a mental shift. I knew I was going to procrastinate either way (I hadn’t overcome this tendency AT ALL yet), so I decided that instead of pretending that I was going to do my homework, I would just decide that I wasn’t going to start it until a later time.  That freed me up to really enjoy and use my time wisely until then. However, I would still argue that it gives you more freedom if you do your work earlier rather than later.

I know who might want to go with me on spontaneous things. It’s always valuable to invite a buddy along, even if they don’t end up being able to come.

And lastly, I say no to a lot of other things so that I have the time, the physicality, the funds, the freedom to say yes to the really great opportunities that come my way (even though sometimes that means saying no to other great opportunities to get there). I always remember that saying yes to something means saying no to something else.

So I practice that when planning to be spontaneous and have adventures.  And then when it happens, it all feels like it falls together so smoothly, it’s almost easy to forget that my life is structured in a way that the hard work is done up front so that the adventure can just be that — adventurous and fun.

Joanna O’Hanlon is an adventurer and storyteller. She tries to be honest about the ugly and hard parts of life, and the beautiful parts too. This blog is one of the places she shares her thoughts and stories.

Other places are

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