Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Life is Improvisation

Beware of people who paint with big strokes, such as "life is improvisation." They don't know what they're talking about. Beware of them unless, of course, you hate little strokes, and prefer getting the gist of things, rather than wading through academic waters to meticulously research the minutia required for a reasonable proof of your idea, of which a) only other academics read, b) only academics take the time to understand. With that said, please continue if you're not already bored.

Yes, it's true. Your life isn't scripted. I don't care how anal you are, there are times when you can't plan things out. Even if you could, you're still have to improvise how you spend your planning sessions, right? (I guess you could spend one planning session going over how to plan all your upcoming planning sessions--but sometime way back before you began planning your planning sessions, you had to improvise something.)

Here's some things you improvise every day:

1. Driving. Sure, you might have an idea of where you're going, and what route to take. But, because the world around you is rapidly changing, you can't plan that total jerk who just cut you off, and you can't plan to swerve. You've got to improvise. Or you die.

2. Eating. Yes, I had a friend in high school who planned out how he'd physically chew each bite of food. First the left side, 7 bites, then the right side, 8 bites. Swallow. He ate tater tots in order of size. He ordered 2 milks, drank them according to plan. (In case you're wondering, no, he did not have a girlfriend). Unless you're him, you probably improvise eating.

3. Sex. Please, say you improvise at least part of that, or else your partner may be planning a break-up as you read this.

4. Conversation. Self-explanatory, I hope. Unless you're a telemarketer with a script, you have to expect the unexpected. (Beware telemarketers, you'll need to improvise too. Check this out).

5. Pretty much everything else.

This is pretty simple. Your life is one big improvisation, so you better get used to things not going to plan--it's how it's meant to be.

You'll be on "stage" for only so long, and then the curtain drops. The question won't be--did you plan everything right? Nope. The question will be, how did you react to what got thrown your way?

So, the take-away: for one day, focus on reacting well, rather than planning well. Just see how it goes. I'd be interested in finding out.


Anonymous said...

great post. i'm excited to be a part of the team. I'm realizing how much I need this group...not to get all gushy, but there is an idea in improv that used to be a part of my life that I feel like life and experience has made me jaded toward. I am a recovering control freak and I am excited for this journey of learning how to let go and enjoy the ride...thanks for letting me be your "grasshoppa"~Wendy

Dan said...

Glad to have you on board Wendy. We're all recovering control freaks, so you're in good company.