Feb 26, 2013

Making up for lost time...the art of spontaneity.

I'm like a kid in a lolly shop at the moment.
No really. Just like that: I am so greedily scooping up all that this fabulous city has to offer, 
now that it is on my doorstep instead of a one hour commute away,
that every spare minute is crammed to perfection with spontaneous outings.

And while I used to travel the commute both for work and for outings,
being of the nature of one who never likes to miss out on things,
there is something about not having to plan a journey,
to be utterly spontaneous,
which feels like I am making up for lost time.

So on Saturday night, 
when the 2 older teenagers excused themselves after the family dinner,
(as my elderly parents are currently over here from Adelaide, which is delightful)
announcing they were meeting friends at the inaugural White Night in the city,
my husband and I looked at each other, 
and thought, in the same moment,
"Why not?"

Now, back in the day when going out meant going out at midnight,
and nary a moment before, 
it was partly the spontaneity which made it exciting. 
And I had forgotten just how fun that is.
So we jumped on a train late in the evening,
packed to glory with a surprising number of people our age,
as well, of course, as younger ones,
and headed into the city.

Flinders Street had become a fairyland of imagination, coloured story lighting and mesmerised wonder
as people drank in the atmosphere of a warm summer night
and the magical effect of light in a dark sky.
So many choices. Should we grab a torch and explore a Night at the Museum?
Go on the Ghost Tour at the Performing Arts Complex at 3am?
See Cat Empire play live at Flinders Station?
Or Jazz at Degraves Street at 4 am?

We strolled to Fed Square, where hundreds of mirror balls had been strung over the piazza,
and followed the steps of an Indian pop dance teacher,
along with a good few thousand of our other classmates.
Because Melbourne, it seems, loves to dance, loves to party, loves art, loves spontaneity,
and this was all four.

After listening to live jazz in the NGV for a bit, 
as a backdrop to the fabulous art,
and revelling in the naughtiness of being in an art gallery after midnight,
we moved, in the swaying mass of people,
along the banks of the Yarra River to see more art, more music, more lights and more colour,
with giant turtles and jellyfish rising out of the river,
cast by laser light against the spray of a 40 metre fountain,
then swooping and diving back, deep, deep down into the water.

And as we walked through this magical wonderland, 
the heady aroma of Lemon Scented Eucalyptus trees
(from those majestic creatures lining the banks of the river)
wafted down as perfume on the crowd.
As if the visual delight were not enough - the trees added the luscious element of scent. Pure heaven.

We arrived home in the wee hours of Sunday morning,
delighted with the charms of a fabulous event.

The next morning, as we walked through the parklands on the way 
to a favourite cafe for Sunday breakfast,
we reflected just how much pleasure can be derived from being spontaneous.

Yes, sometimes anticipation is wonderful
(like when planning an overseas trip: the more months to plan, the more fun it becomes),
but sometimes, just throwing planning to the winds of caution,
and riding that wave of opportunity,
can be an incredibly fabulous burst of energy. 

What are your thoughts though,
do you think we lose the ability to be spontaneous with age,
or is it more about having the access to opportunity to be spontaneous?


  1. It looks and sounds like you had a wonderful and memorable evening.
    I like spontaneous outings too.

    Helen x

    1. Good - glad it isn't just me then Helen! x

  2. What an amazing night out, love that there was so much to choose from and all so interesting. I find spontaneous nights out generally don't work.... restaurants don't have bookings available (good ones, at any rate.... unless you decide to go to a no bookings one and wait hours). And due to babysitting logistics, it's very hard to be spontaneous without some advance planning. And I do like to plan an overseas holiday well in advance to revel in the anticipation, although I prefer to leave the details of what we do once we get there to chance (with maybe a couple of must sees). Part of the excitement of travel is just the wandering around in a new place. xx

    1. Oh indeed - I do remember the inflexibility of having young children, and then finding that having things planned in advance was much more necessary. Part of the treats of having children who are older. They are not as cute though!!! x

  3. I think it's access to opportunity - but that can encompass a gamut of things, and probably the biggest is being able to be flexible with responsibilities. Very hard if you are a dairy farmer, because there's milking twice a day and the cattle really aren't impressed if they have to wait. Incredibly easy if you live by yourself with no pets or other commitments. And most of us lie somewhere between those two extremes just trying to juggle our lives. So pleased you decided to go out, and very privileged that you shared this with us. It's quite wonderful how a different time (evenings or maybe a Sunday afternoon) can so change the way we see things. In the last photo (the petunia pot), are the eaves timber slats or just corrugated iron? I know the timber slats aren't considered pest proof, but they did provide wonderful ventilation.

    1. Erika I will have to go back and have a look properly - I seem to remember there is corrugated iron visible behind the exposed timber rafters (because it is an Edwardian building) but I can't tell from my own photograph. Perfect excuse to pop into the cafe for a latte while I research your answer!!

      Take the point about the dairy farmer - that's what my grandparents and a couple of uncles were - and I well remember the impossibility of them doing anything spontaneously. So yes, responsibilities + access to opportunities affect it. x

  4. Spontaneous moments are always the most fun--there is an added spice to whatever you do! And yet, I think our society as a whole has become so much more geared to planning by necessity--everyone is so busy (well, save for me :) that it takes two weeks notice just to get together for a glass of wine with a girlfriend! What a shame that is...

    And what a wonderful evening! Honestly, it looks far more impressive than Paris' white nights!!
    Gros bisous to you my friend,

  5. Wow what a truly spectacular night and how fortunate you were to experience it! Great memories : ) When you work for yourself its often very hard to plan too much ahead as your schedule changes by the hour. I'm a big planner in certain aspects of my life (more 'big picture') but I prefer spontaneity of the daily variety (planning a destination trip but not having a set agenda) of not having too many set plans otherwise the opportunity of spontaneity won't exist. There's nothing like the excitement of discovery or of finding yourself in a *moment* that was so unexpected. Most of my best memories and experiences have come from spontaneity. ~ C

  6. Oh, Virginia, this is absolutely adorable and wonderful. I love doing unexpected things, all the time, anything. Sounds like so much fun. I love this little story.

  7. beautiful beautiful beautiful


    (heather from losinarles sent us and we're so glad we came to Visit)

    _teamgloria x

  8. Leslie in Portland, Oregon1/3/13 11:48 AM

    What a spectacular night in Melbourne...thank you for sharing it with us!

    My work time has always been so structured that I look for the opposite in my personal life. (And, I'm a child of the late 60's/early 70's.) In fact, I enjoy spontaneity (seeing and acting on what feels right at the moment) so much that I'm loathe to commit to a plan ahead of time. Of course, some degree of planning is necessary sometimes, but my husband and I minimize it as much as possible. And we have so much fun!!!


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