One evening a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in my dorm room, aimlessly staring at my phone, pondering all the assignments I should be completing. A quiet knock at my door broke the reverie, and I was grateful to escape the mind-numbing insta-scroll to determine whether this was a knock-and-run situation, or if someone was actually waiting outside for me. Happily, the latter was in fact the case, proving that a) we haven’t yet descended to such prankster anarchy, and b) I did actually have friends.
There was the weary but excited face of my friend watching expectantly as I yanked the door open, trying not to laugh as I bruised my hand by hitting it on the handle for the third time that week. But the smile playing around her lips suggested something more serious was about to be imparted.
“Let’s fly to Taiwan for the weekend!”
My first reaction was to burst out laughing at the insanity of the suggestion; after all, we’re not exchange students. One does not simply up sticks and jet off for the weekend when there’s a week of homework to be caught up on. And the environmental implications of air travel are close to the forefront of my mind. But hearing the justifications and cajoling tone of her voice, I started to think my daydream-disturber was onto something. Perhaps if I could just manage to finish my assignments by Friday, I could be on the plane by the next morning. I could be slurping bubble tea to my heart’s content and still make it back for class the following week. Still, the uneasiness of actually committing to a decision settled in the pit of my stomach, making the thought of boba rather less appealing.
In the end, it was this indecisiveness that caught up with me. The lack of any outside-imposed impending time restrictions on tasks that would have needed to be completed prior to any glamorous weekend away meant they remained steadfastly unchecked on my to-do list. I waited for time to catch up with me such that my decision was already made, rather than having the confidence to take the leap in advance. Meanwhile, my friend booked the last available ticket on a flight and packed her bags.
That weekend, I sat in my dorm room, aimlessly staring at my phone, pondering the assignments I still hadn’t completed. No knocks disturbed me, prompting the realisation that a) the dorms are eerily quiet during the day, and b) I apparently don’t have that many friends.
Though I had plenty to be getting on with, I couldn’t help but be jealous and regretful that I, too, was not revelling in the sights of Taipei. This isn’t an unfamiliar feeling: too many times to count have I been somehow unable to agree to the opportunities proffered by those around me, even when I know that I would truly love to take part. Sometimes, it’s true, we must feel comfortable turning things down in order to maintain our own sanity. But for me, what’s harder is saying yes.
So readers, when you get a knock on your door, allow yourself to engage wholeheartedly with whatever lies on the other side. Try a new hobby with your friends, go for coffee with the cute guy from the library, and maybe, just maybe, book a trip on a whim just to see where life takes you.
Learning to live spontaneously,