I’m a planner. What can I say? I keep a daily task list not just at work, but one for my personal life too. Then I combine the two on both a weekly task list and on my digital calendar. I check off those items I accomplish throughout the day, religiously reviewing and revising my list each evening. This is how I keep my busy life on track. I schedule kids’ events, work events, church events, recreational events, appointments, blog posts, and even medicinal/vitamin dosing as they should occur throughout the day.
It’s not a perfect system, by any means. Nor is it always appreciated by others.
Once a professor divided our class into groups, asking us to describe how we would each be beneficial to our team. Excitedly, I stepped up, sure I knew my answer. Light-heartedly, I introduced myself as an efficient Task Master. Before I could explain how proficient I was at planning timelines to keep a project on task, a gentleman (I use that term loosely) in the group piped up with, “You’re delirious if you think you’re going to waltz in here and boss the rest of us around!” (His name was John, by the way, in case he ever spontaneously reads this post and has cause to wonder if I’m referring to him. Yes, John, it’s you.) It was then I realized a) task master wasn’t a humorously-recognized term in all cultures (such as the culture of miserable jerks seeking company); b) humor does not have the power to break down personal issue barriers (probably not the sound barrier either); c) groups don’t always wish to operate within the realm of organization (why bother when chaos can rule?); and d) when another group position becomes available, I’m an immediate bail-out..more than happy to spontaneously say adios to a hostile teammate (who, incidentally, ended the semester with only one other teammate who made him carry the entire load).
You’d better believe I made a bee-line out – oh, and a black line through all forthcoming scheduled Group A activities. Long live Group B!
Playing within the realm of photography has best taught me that spontaneous captures are, surprisingly, my favorite life moments. That’s not to say I can’t interject a little planning along the way…but I so enjoy being surprised by that which had never originally been planned. (Pause: I don’t even rate as an amateur photographer – – I’m a picture-taker who loves to share my thoughts by creating an image of my surroundings – fiction or non.)
Sometimes the “picture” (idea) sneaks up on me when I’m not even contemplating it. Just this week, for instance, I finished a moderately difficult bike course of 25 miles, where I had worked some tough hills and maintained my target rate. As I cruised the parking lot, regaining my land legs before I unclipped, I glimpsed at the sky and noticed a glorious site. I thought, I wish I had my camera with me. Then it dawned on me that my iPhone was tucked in my back jersey pocket. I climbed off and, with some measure of shakiness, snapped this photo:
I knew it wasn’t going to have the resolution of my Nikon, but I was pleased with the sun ray effect I’d been able to capture. It wasn’t until I later saw it on the computer that I realized I couldn’t have timed a bird release that well if I’d tried – one I hadn’t even noticed when I took the shot! (Or was that an angel descending from heaven?!) What a great spontaneous addition!
Without sounding conceited, I also have a favorite photo of myself, though of very poor resolution – taken during a spontaneously silly moment. I love it so well because it’s 100% “me” of enjoyment. No posing, no business-like stiffness, no look-directly-into-the-camera cheesy smile. It manages to capture an unadulterated, gut-busting moment I was having.
Admittedly, sometimes I’m planning for a photo when something better than I could’ve imagined comes along. I had recently been parked at the end of a private drive, patiently waiting to capture our malaria cyclists in route with a beautiful mountainous backdrop when I heard a shot discharged into the air from the “holler” behind me and heard a man “holler” for me to get on down the road. I at least got a mountain view photo first (just for spite).
Mr. “I’m not running a meth lab or a moonshine still down here” did me a huge favor, actually. I got down the road in time not only to be met by a magnificent surprise field of vibrant wildflowers, but had time to get out and frame my upcoming shot. Spontaneity in planning. I couldn’t have been more pleased. (If you follow my blog, you’ll easily recognize this recent photo as a favorite of mine.)
I’m learning to try to keep my “good camera” with me more often these days, in hopes of grabbing more spontaneous captures. Where that planning fails, however, my little iPhone buddy is always ready and willing to help. In either case, photography (okay, picture taking, if you have to get all “John-snooty” about it) is inviting me to interact with my surroundings more closely and more often, feeling the freedom to stop and smell the…geese.
Now I ask you…how much more perfection could I possibly plan than that?!