Modern media romanticises spontaneity; the ability to book flights from our phones, accommodation from our watches and experiences with our looks. I can almost picture young YouTube stars screaming, ‘What’s sexier than being able to wake up anywhere you want in the world?’. Within hours you could be hiking in Maui’s Haleakala National park or cycling in Sardinia.
We’re sold this idealised lifestyle by a new subset of youths who have created their own career paths. These are people who see our vocational culture as material that can be pushed, pulled, carved into and built upon. To them, conformity and rigidity are alien voices- well, unless it’s Christmas or birthdays.
I aspire to this lifestyle, there’s no doubt about it. One day I may be able to achieve it. But for now, I, alongside the majority of the population, am not in the position to jet off to Paris to eat macaroons in a café on the Champs Elysees at the push of a button.
Instead, I hold a full-time job in a London suburb, where the sky is dedicatedly fifty shades of grey. Most of my friends have left for university and those who still live locally seem to have their own largely non-cooperative schedules. Often, I start work at 6am and regularly find out next week’s schedule on the Sunday of the week before. This severely limits activity planning. Thus, I don’t doubt that it would be easy to slip into a very regimented existence, which is everything the young girl in me wants to avoid.
I want to ensure that my days feel recognisably different. I don’t want to be the one saying, ‘Where did September go?’ Or more frighteningly, ‘Where did this year go?’. I do this by living what my mother terms, ‘A minute to minute lifestyle,’ and to this lifestyle, I am faithful. My mother says my lack of forward planning is irresponsible. I say, ‘The minute to minute lifestyle is a result of forward planning’. This retort never goes down well.
So how do I live this lifestyle?
I started saying yes to plans that had no specific end time. A club night that could possibly end at 1am or maybe 4:30am.
I started self-defence classes and often I am the only in the class at 7:30am.
I went to the cinema alone for the first time.
I decided to wear a headband to work.
I contacted the owners of a jaunty, elegant lurcher I thought was beautiful. I walk it now. It’s extremely well behaved. Whilst I proposed walking the dog to take some weight of their hands; it was clear that they thought they were doing me a favour. They asked me if I would like to take it for a walk or simply come round to pet it.
The old me would have hesitated before considering any of these activities.
Actively choosing to act on small desires, before I am able to find enough reasons to swat them away has been transformative. The new me feels 4D, 5g, wireless headphones.