Spontaneous people live longer (sort of)

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Spontaneity is a quality I have always admired in others. It is the sense of adventure inspired by urges and whims. It is the taking of risks and the chasing of experience. The human lifespan, much like the curly-wurly I am currently inhaling, is far too short. Too short to dither or dally over decisions. Too short to pass up opportunities when they might not come around again.

To be spontaneous is to live efficiently, packing as much into today as possible and wasting little time yesterday with prior-planning. As a cautious bore of an individual, this isn’t a maxim I live by, but I wish it was. And I think it’s a mind-set that can be exercised quite simply.

All you have to do is approach every opportunity that arises as if your default response was spontaneous acceptance. Sure, count me in. This doesn’t mean you have to be a ‘yes man’, it just means that you have to mentally opt out of trying things which is harder than idly letting the decision expire.

All it requires is posing the question ‘why not?’ and then being strictly critical of your answer (excuses). If there is reasonable opposition to you quitting your day-job in favour of pursuing a career in wizardry, it will doubtless emerge. Spontaneity doesn’t have to be reckless. But there will be occasions where the only objection you can muster to an invitation is ‘I can’t be bothered’ and these are the opportunities that your new adventurous self should be grabbing.

A few weeks ago, probably like most of you, I had never heard of the sport Korfball. I was curious so I went along to a taster session. I quite enjoyed it. I went back. Then I discovered there was a tournament in Cardiff for beginners that very weekend. I asked myself: why not? I had no plans that weekend. The trip was fairly cheap. I might have objected to the fact I was to be driven there by a stranger and was to sleep on the floor of another stranger’s house – but I didn’t. I packed a rucksack, borrowed a sleeping bag, and left for a foreign country… well, Wales.

And you know what? Instead of doing my laundry that weekend and lying in till noon, I met some cool people and developed a love for something new. All because I ticked the ‘attending’ box and not the ‘stay-at-home-because-that’s-what-I-usually-do’ box.

Go tick some boxes of your own. Hell, go play Korfball. Go to Wales.

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