Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spur Of The Moment Joys - A Great Addition To Everyday Life

Do you remember when you were a kid and life was full of spur of the moment ideas?  Some of my greatest joys growing up were playing with friends in the neighbourhood where we made up games and went on "explorations", we took unexpected trips to the corner store for a treat, rode our bikes wild, and as I got a bit older, we took some unplanned but fun-filled road trips.  These spur of the moment joys were just about anything where I simply followed my heart, went with the flow and fulfilled a sudden desire. Oh, the carefree days of youth!  I'm feeling nostalgic just thinking about it.

These spur of the moment joys seem to fade as we get older.  Life gets busier, priorities are set, routines are in place... everything is planned.  Well, OK, I'll speak for myself as a major planner in life.  But funny enough, I'm also a spur of the moment kind of a gal and I really don't want to lose this trait - even though I seem to use it less and less. 

Yesterday I was feeling frustrated after a weekend of not really knowing what to do and not doing much.  Although we had a great time with all our family in town, I didn't feel like we really did anything.  Our outings seemed to revolve solely around food - we had everyone over for dinner, we went out for lunch, we walked around the indoor market (which also meant we ate our way around the indoor market), we went out for dinner... you see the theme?  I'm at least happy to say that my husband somehow managed to get the kids outside on Sunday for an hour (after some kicking and screaming) - kudos to him.  But these winter weekends have been starting to bore us and it's been getting me down - we were in a rut.   

So when I got into work yesterday I sat down at my computer and booked a night in a hotel for this coming Saturday night.  Just like that.  I chose a hotel in Ottawa (about a 2 hour drive from home) that has a big salt water pool and a 2-storey water slide.  We've been hearing about the great children's museums in Ottawa, as well as how much fun skating is on the Rideau Canal (the world's largest outdoor skating rink).  I called my husband and told him what I had done and he couldn't have been more thrilled.  Can't wait until Saturday!  

We've never really done anything like this - our trips are always planned well in advance.  I have lots of friends who take these mini trips with their kids and they always sound great, however, we've just never done it.  It's not like I don't have initiative in life, so I'm not really sure why I haven't.  Before I was married and had kids, I used to take those weekend getaways, go out for last minute happy hour get-togethers, an impulsive hike up a mountain to see the sun set, or a walk on the beach after work...  (I was lucky enough to spend some years in Arizona and Vancouver before meeting my husband and moving to Montreal).  If I had to guess why I now do less spur of the moment things, I would say that it's simply outside of my regular routine.  And with a family, it's so much easier to get entrenched in that routine.

I'm really excited about going and spending this fun time with the family, but even more so to see my kids have a blast.  It's so important to me to create wonderful memories for them of their childhood - I would hate for them to think back one day and feel like they never really did fun things with their parents.  I feel this quick trip is a great pick-me-up for all of us, it's a great break from our regular routine, it isn't costing us a lot of money (we got a great deal on the hotel room because we booked last minute) and it's something to look forward to all week.  Although my husband and I did sit in bed last night and plan everything we wanted to do once we got there LOL.  Can't take the plan completely out of the planner!

I think booking this last minute get-away is more than just going away this one weekend and having fun.  It's re-ignited in me the lost passion of my childhood in finding spur of the moment joys in life.  It's a reminder that I have to do this more often.  It doesn't always have to be something big like a road trip, rather, it can be adding smaller spur of the moment joys into my everyday life too.  Whether it's taking the kids for ice cream on a warm summer night, playing a board game instead of watching TV, calling an old friend I haven't spoken to in a while, baking chocolate chip cookies just for the heck of it (i.e. not for the school bake sale the next day)... whatever it may be, I just need to do it (I'm really on board with the Nike campaign lately).  Your spur of the moment joys may differ than mine (i.e. you may think baking cookies is a chore, not a joy!).  But please take this as your reminder too... just get up and do it too - whatever it is!

Here are a few memories of some of my spur of the moment joys:

1.  A last minute trip to Arizona to see friends and family for my 40th b-day (thanks to my hubby who sent me with my then 1 1/2 year old daughter!) - it was a fabulous way to spend a big birthday.

2. A family photo shoot in the park - something I always wanted to do and finally booked spur of the moment.  We had 4 generations, including the dog, present for the afternoon.  The pictures we took that day were beautiful and I will cherish them for years to come (and hopefully my kids will too one day!).

3.  My kid's first trip to an amusement park last summer (Canada's Wonderland).  I used to love going on rides so it was super fun doing so again (I felt like a really big kid, especially on the kid rides).  It was also great seeing the joy in my kids as they experienced their first rides.

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