Make It Up As You Go

This week’s “beckoning the lovely” goal: Make it up as you go.

I decided on Friday that I would spend the day making it up as I go. I loaded my backpack up with possible activities – my laptop, my notebook, a set of jacks, earphones, coloring books, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo… I was prepared to be imaginative. But on my way out, I got derailed. To share why might be too much information. Suffice it to say that the cure for my derailment involved an actual doctor.

I couldn’t have asked for a more real time, this-is-what-it-means-to-make-it-up-as-you-go sort of catalyst. What I needed could not be found in my backpack, and from its beginning (me in search of an  indie cafe with wireless) to its end (my music-filled evening in Napa), Friday was, in fact, a day made up as I went.

And I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I know I’m stating the obvious to say that life is a work in progress, that we do – all of us – make it up as we go. But I’ve been thinking about how, for me, making it up as I go has been a fairly passive activity. Life throws a curve ball, I react. I improvise. Sometimes it’s jarring, disorienting. Sometimes it’s wonderful.

I wonder if there’s value in adopting a more assertive version of making it up as you go. Like my backpack full of options. What if I, at least occasionally, toss my list of things to do, and head out into the day armed not with a plan, but with possibility. I don’t think you can make it work all the time, and anyone who reads me regularly knows I am a lover of lists and a firm believer in the power of enumeration, but I’m thinking that maybe an active make-it-up-as-you-go strategy that is, by nature, not completely defined, might sometimes yield the best results. And by best I mean rewarding, fulfilling, fun… curious in the best sense of the word.

I like the idea of that – seeking out, rather than simply reacting to – life’s surprises. What do you think? Are you in?

(Next week’s lovely thing? Make peace.)


  1. Estrella Azul on September 21, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Seems like your day has definitely showed you HOW to make thing up as you go, not how you were planning to 🙂
    I think we should all throw our list of things to do sometimes and just make things up as we go and enjoy every second to the fullest. (as clischéic as it might sound…)

  2. justakidatheart on September 21, 2009 at 10:56 am

    “Seeking out, rather than simply reacting to – life’s surprises.”

    That makes life a quest, an adventure.

    Well put. You are wise beyond your years.

  3. judy on September 21, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Estrella, I love this word: clischéic. (And for the record, making things up as we go and enjoying every minute sounds wise, not clischéic!)

    Kid, I love when you come visit.

  4. Linda on September 21, 2009 at 11:50 am

    You sound much more disciplined than I am, so I say go for the occassional make it up as you go day. You never know what you’ll learn. Live life.

  5. Belle on September 21, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I love the idea of a make it up as you go day! It brings up the thought of all sorts of possibilities. Very inspiring. Being open to, rather than simply reacting to – that sounds absolutely lovely.

  6. karen from mentor on September 21, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    My favorite thing in your bag was a set of jacks.

    I think you also have to have a piece of string…..
    almost all great adventures start with a piece of string….or a magical ring……

    I Love the idea of make it up as you go day. …

    PS I agree with kid….wise beyond your years


  7. judy on September 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Linda, A friend once told me that he ordered the outside to compensate for his disorderly insides. It made me laugh, but I think I do that too. (Or try to. I’m sort of messy in both places.)

    Belle, That’s what I’m hoping. Maybe we should declare it – Make It Up As You Go Day! – and there we’d all be – daring souls beckoning the lovely! =)

    Karen, String! How could I have forgotten string? Will definitely add that to the mix!

  8. ~Tim on September 21, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I thought we were supposed to bring a towel. Is a towel okay instead of string?

  9. karen from mentor on September 21, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy reference!!!
    how did I miss that one????

    *hangs head in shame*

  10. judy on September 21, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Tim, Doh! I wasn’t thinking of “massively useful” things to pack (hence the jacks). Clearly I need a little practice on how to pack for Make It Up As You Go Day. And maybe a bigger backpack, too.

    Karen, You were thinking magically, versus practically. No shame in that, baby!

  11. Judith Rich on September 22, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    I like the idea of “seeking surprise”. Surely it’s there to be found! I surprised myself today by doing something I didn’t think I could do. Just for the heck of it, I decided to trim a huge old tree in my backyard that was so overgrown, it was blotting out the light from inside the house. It took 2 days to do it actually, and I seriously injured my big toe in the process (another surprise), but in spite of sore muscles, I feel such a sense of accomplishment! I made it up as I went and was delightfully surprised that I did what looked impossible. I mean, this was a HUGE tree! It took 2 men to haul away all the branches I felled. But my house is light again! Great surprise……

  12. judy on September 22, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Judith, Wow! Not sure I would have tackled that! Wish you had pictures. I should go check your blog. Maybe you do! In any case, that is a perfect make-it-up-as-you-go result!

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