Learning to embrace Spontaneity

08 October 2022

We are well and truly into the throes of Autumn here, weather that changes from gloomy grey, heavy showers and bright blue skies all in the space of a few hours.  It keeps you on the toes and you never quite know what clothes to wear.  If the sun is out it can be really warm but the second it goes behind a cloud it is baltic.   I always feel like it takes longer to get out of the house at this time than it does in the depths of Winter when many layers are an absolute must.  You never quite know which coat to wear, if at all, do I need a waterproof? hat? gloves?  I usually end up packing them all into a bag which they invariably never leave, but I know that that one occasion I don't is when I will need them.

For the second or maybe third year running, I have not been keeping track, my sunflowers have decided that this is a good time for them to burst into flower.  Whilst most other plants in the garden are dying back, they are blooming away, a burst of sunshine amongst the decay.  I am hopeless at growing flowering plants, I think they collude behind my back, but this waiting until it turns cold before flowering, whilst rather wonderful and cheery is also a little baffling.  Perhaps I should just stick to edibles, they seem a little easier to master.

We have slowly found our groove with a rhythm gradually evolving and revealing itself as we find our feet with a new college timetable to work around.  Cameron is totally settled into his new course, Alice is still trying to find her way.  She is really missing being part of a group of friends, we are looking at ways to make that possible.  She is not ready for too many new things, they feel just a little too much right now, the recent changes have not yet settled for her.

As we have transitioned into our Autumn rhythms, I have also been reflecting back on the Summer.  It was a super busy one this year, maybe a little too full at times but I did love each and every one of the things we did.  The heat, the sunshine, feel like a distant memory now.

My house was very neglected for a few months.  I usually do cleaning and tidying as part of my morning rhythm, this was totally abandoned for most of the summer.  The laundry was about the only thing that got regular attention, the kitchen surfaces stayed clean and I waved a cloth at the bathroom when things looked bad.  I was pleased that I did not notice the dust bunnies having a merry party in plain sight.  They were invisible until I started my morning clean again,  I think they have mostly been moved on to new party locations.

Our summer days had a very different flow to them this year, we completely abandoned our structured learning time which we only usually stop if we are away or have guests.  As we spent most of the summer doing one or the other it is unsurprising that the days when neither were happening there was none of that going on.  On those rare days that we were at home without guests or a trip away to get ready for, we were busy just being.  Resting.  Doing whatever felt right for the day ahead, the hours slipping by so fast that it felt like breakfast was followed by tea.  Learning still goes on all the time, structured learning time is not always visible in this house, only when it is requested.

There was a time when I used to worry about those days where you did whatever felt right.  They felt wasteful as often they seemed to disappear in a flash of nothing.  I had nothing to show for them, it has taken me years to realise that you don't need something to show every single day.  Some days don't have measurable evidence of achievement, and you need those days too.  They are an important part of the balance, not everything we do needs or indeed should be measurable.  Those hidden achievements are the building blocks of life, the skills that give a foundation for life and are more important than knowing what 126x39 equals or the effect of the Romans on British society.

The summer is a time for spontaneity.  It is so much easier to get out of the house in the summer, there is no requirement for organising clothing which can take as long as you might end up being outside, it has certainly felt like that at times, especially when the children were really little.

I have always thought that I am not very good at spontaneity, it is all too easy to get into a mindset about what spontaneity is.  When we view it through the lens of other peoples life and what they get up to and the bits of their life they choose to share, it feels impossible to replicate in our own life.  Unsurprising really.  We have no ownership of it, it is like trying to fit a square peg in a round whole, it will just not fit.  When I looked at what we had been doing during the summer this year I realised it was spontaneous, it was my spontaneity, our spontaneity. It is not quite a perfect fit more a work in progress.

I didn't need things to be organised well in advance.  I said yes to many things at short notice.  I abandoned all pretence at keeping the house clean and tidy.  I had lovely days that evolved as they went along.  I went to bed when I felt like it.  I had long lie-ins.  I woke really early and went for walks.  We ate meals at random times of the day. 

I loved it, but I know that I could not be like that all the time.  I needed that space over the summer, the change, a break from the norms.  I am loving getting back into my rhythms.  I have welcomed back my mornings, filled with language learning, yoga, cleaning, breakfast, before my focused time with Alice or getting ready to go out depending on the day, like a long lost friend.  

Autumn is my favourite season.  I am totally ready for a slower pace.  I need the rest after all that spontaneity and busyness!


  1. Getting that balance is a great thing. I'm not really that spontaneous - I like my routines, but sometimes it is good to break out!
    Enjoy the slower pace of Autumn.
    Best wishes

  2. I have come to realise dust bunnies are hardly noticeable if you both choose not to see them and don't be tempted to give them even the slightest nudge :) That said, I will be tackling some of mine later today. It has finally become too much.
    This time of transition between late summer and autumn can often feel unsettling for many reasons. I hope Alice soon finds her way. Xx

  3. Yes I understand where you are coming from and the thought that spontaneity can be exhausting! My life has a definite rhythm which I find reassuring. As for dust bunnies well what can you do with two furry cats in the house. I lost that battle many years ago! B x

  4. I find it hard to be spontaneous as I do like routines and a structure to my day but sometimes, it can be quite liberating to just go with the flow. I'm pleased to hear that Cameron has settled into his new course and hope that Alice finds a way to settle soon too.

  5. I'm always ready for more my routine schedule to re-emerge when fall rolls around. Summer seems perfectly made for spontaneity . . . but once autumn hits, I'm always ready to get "back to business" (however defined!). Your sunflower blooms are such a welcome gift.

  6. It's definitely quite nippy now, so it must be good to have some late blooming sunflowers in the garden. Definitely feeling the Autumn Vibe right now. X

  7. the older I get the more rigid I am but being spontaneous has its benefits and leads to some exciting experiences!! I am so happy it is truly Autumn here :)

  8. A lovely post, as always. Summer is the season to be spontaneous, as you say it feels right. I love autumn too, it's the time to relax and start winding down ready for winter. The log burner goes on now and the candles start coming out. Snowbird.xxx

  9. Autumn is my favourite season, too!
    There are just so many nuggets of wisdom in this post!
    "I waved a cloth at the bathroom when things looked bad" - this is me!!
    "There was a time when I used to worry about those days where you did whatever felt right. They felt wasteful as often they seemed to disappear in a flash of nothing. I had nothing to show for them, it has taken me years to realise that you don't need something to show every single day." This quote is just...so true and so eloquently written.

  10. I loved that "feels absolutely baltic"! I have never heard that before. As for spontaneity, I am rather too much that way, I think. I am always ready for whatever comes up. But I do love it when life settles down a bit and I can have a whole week at home. In tbe summer eating gets neglected here too as therevis do much kitchen and garden work to tend to. So far, we haven't yet slowed down much, and I an yearning for a slower pace. Soon, I tell myself!

  11. Changes can be so difficult in the teenage years, and friends are so important. I remember having the same problem, when my teenagers were the only ones left in their friendship group not going to school. It was only for a year or two until they went to school themselves, but it was a difficult time. All the best for Alice as she learns how to work her way through change. A valuable learning time, if painful. It sounds to me as if the calm and gentle summer you have had together may have been just what she needed to settle into a new place in her life. How wonderful that you could do that for you and her:)

  12. Hello SM, well first of all, well done on the sunflowers. All mine, bar one, got munched down to the ground by the mutant molluscs. As I always put them in late (for fear of being munched!). I usually have ones that burst into flower in late September.

    I like a little bit of spontaneity, just as long as I have my trusty rucksack with water bottles, snacks & spare clothes (I can't afford to eat out! or buy new clothes when the kids get soaked or fall in mud and we're miles from home). You're right, the clothing conundrum is much easier in warmer weather. It's very important to have a holiday from the grind of daily cleaning & cooking sometimes. I hope you are having a fine autumn xXx


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