I’ve been thinking a lot about spontaneity recently. How empty our lives are of it these days, and how it’s something we all need to be open to a little bit more.
For someone of my age, spontaneity is becoming a very rare thing, and I can only appreciate it is going to become even more of a rare thing as I grow older. I’ve been at school for 14 years – 7 years of 9am – 3.30pm, 7 years of 8.30am – 2.45pm. Saturday is homework day/a day to curl up in exhaustion in front of the TV whilst eating endless packets of doritos. Sunday is work day, and Sunday evening is the mindless scrabble to finish all the schoolwork you should have done on Saturday and in your free periods at school. This was my week, for the past 7 years at any rate. I suspect I had more spontaneity when I was younger, but to be honest with you, I can’t exactly remember it. I’m off to University in less than a fortnight, and that there is 3 years of my life already planned out ahead. A plan. A lack of spontaneity for certain.
In my lifetime, technology has boomed, and that is certainly a good thing – keeping in contact with people has become about a thousand times easier. There is a possibility you can now be heard amongst the thousands of voices on the internet with a snazzy hashtag, a good photograph. Our sense of self-worth and self-importance has increased. There is no part of me which thinks that’s a bad thing.
However, alongside the good is the bad, and in my eyes, technology has killed spontaneity. “You can’t have a good evening without Instagramming it!” as I overheard in the Common Room at school a few months ago. (If you’re entering Sixth Form, just wait for the build up to exam time – your life will become full of the most pointless conversations ever because nobody wants to talk about the Great Doom of exams. We had a full on conversation about the flaws in Scooby Doo one lunchtime. I’m serious. Anyway that’s not the point.) That comment made me think, because to an extent, it is true. When we have a good time, we spam our various social networks with that good time – be that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it, it’s used. Therefore, if people are so desperate to show a media side of themselves that portrays an exciting life, surely everything you do must be somewhat planned so you can have at least one decent Instagram or Tweet that week? I’ll be honest, I’ve fallen to this thought process before – I hadn’t Instagrammed anything in about a week, so I used the hashtag “#ThrowbackThursday” and put up a picture of when I went travelling over the Summer, showing an exciting lifestyle, something to be jealous of. Why did I need to put up that picture? Frankly, I didn’t, but not having anything else exciting going on made me do that.
This weekend just gone is what triggered this thought process of spontaneity. I had 3 friends over, for a weekend of pizza, crisps, popcorn and attempting to marathon as many Marvel films as we possibly could (if you bond over The Avengers, they’re friends worth keeping. Seriously). It got to about 9.30pm on Saturday, and two of the friends began talking about how good Guardians of the Galaxy (the latest Marvel film, in case you’ve been living under a rock) is, and how much they want to see it again. My other friend and I had not seen it yet. So the conversation literally went, “Is it showing at the cinema tonight?” *looks up times on phone* “Yeah, there’s a showing at 10.30?” “Shall we go?” “Alright then!” Within 5 minutes we were out the door, into the car, and driving to our nearest cinema, just outside Bristol (it was a terrifying car journey, but I feel that’s another story altogether). What followed was a ridiculously random, yet incredible, night. Practically nobody was there, so we wound up in the VIP seats for no extra charge, and one of the friends who’d already seen the film sang along to the soundtrack very loudly because he wouldn’t exactly be bothering anyone else (he’s tone deaf, so sitting next to him wasn’t the best fun you could have, but that’s completely off point)(the soundtrack by the way is amazing. I have no words). Whilst the car journeys there and back were traumatising, I feel they are stories we will tell the world for a long time to come. We had a hilarious night, laughing all through the film, experiencing free VIP seats and a practically empty cinema, and bantering before and after – yet it was completely unplanned. The plan had been a weekend of movies in my room, not driving back from the cinema at 1.30am.
I had one of the funniest weekends I’ve had in a long time right there. There are few things better than having a hilarious time with friends – but having a hilarious time with friends that you completely unanticipated having makes it somewhat more amusing.
The whole point of spontaneity is that it isn’t planned at all, which to an extent makes it hard to do, I know. But if we all put away our phones for a bit, stopped trying to plan and document every second of what we do and live in the moment, I strongly suspect spontaneity would find us much more easily. And trust me, when those spontaneous moments happen, they are so completely worth it.