In keeping with our mandate of dating while married, HomieLoverFriend and I spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon meandering around the eclectic Kensington Market area in downtown Toronto. I've lived in Toronto for 6 years, and this was the first time I ventured to the market (sad, I know) - but I'll definitely be back. The creative and independent vibe of the area is a fresh respite from the corporate branding mold of other shopping areas in Toronto - and if you like to people-watch and dream up stories about the lives of passers-by like I do, it's the perfect spot.
Usually, we like to have our dates in the evenings - we'll hit up a cool dinner spot, check out a movie, or hit a lounge for drinks and slow-dancing in dark corners. However, Sunday lived up to its celestial name and gave us a beautiful, sunshiny day, and I wanted us to take full advantage of it. So, down to Kensington Market we went, where we settled into a quiet corner of a quaint cafe for crêpes, tea, and conversation.
Food and beverages: $15.00
Conversation, and the revelations therein: priceless.
We've both got a lot on the go this year. We're working on our own separate projects, we have some that we're working on together, we're both working full-time jobs, and we're working to achieve some really important goals in the next 12 months. If you haven't caught the gist of it yet, we're doing a whole lot of work. HLF is calm and able to compartmentalize extremely well. I get worked up and my brain plays out like a cerebral Matryoshka doll - one big thought leads to another thought which leads to another and another...
I was in one of those Matryoshka thought patterns during our date. A lot of awesome things are coming to fruition (which I'll let y'all know about in time), and there are some other potentially awesome things in the works - but they still reside in the land of the unknown. That's where I struggle. I'm constantly trying to strategize my life to ensure the best possible outcome, and unknowns don't fit well in my plans. I was talking to HLF about the many different ways things could go depending on how these unknowns play out - "If A happens, then I can do B, then we can do C in about 6 months, and by next year, we'll have D. OR - If X works out, we'll wait for Y, and then I'll do Z. Either way, I'm just trying to play with the various puzzle pieces and see what works the best."
He looked at me with the most amused face, then said something that really changed the game for me.
"You're not so good at puzzles. I think you need to try word searches or something, because this jigsaw puzzle thing...it just isn't working." He then proceeded to read me for filth and snatch my wig in the most loving way about my issues with control and how it was doing me more harm than good.
This is something I've written about before, and something I continue to work through. I am actively working on relinquishing my need for control, and trying to have more faith that things will work out even if I can't plan and see every step of the way. HLF asked me about how much faith I honestly think I possess - and I realized it was pretty low. I have a fear of regret, a fear of doing things the "wrong" way - and while I've moved past my previous issue of not doing ANYTHING because of my fear of failure, I'm now struggling with the issue of doing things, but trying to control every possible aspect. It's exhausting. HLF reminded me that I'm smart and resilient and we're a team - so what I should be focusing on is increasing the faith in myself that regardless of what happens - I (and we) will be alright.
I told HLF about how so many things were going on, and it felt like this was an exhilarating yet really scary time. It reminded me of when I would ride my bike with my younger brother back in the day - we'd race each other and go fast, fast, fast - and at first it was fun to feel the wind whipping my face and to go so fast that my feet flew off the pedals. Then in an instant, I'd get scared that I couldn't stop or that I'd fall or otherwise lose control.
Him: "Did you ever lose control? Did anything bad ever happen?"
Him: "Did you ever win the race?"
Me: "Hell yeah!"
Him: "Well, apply that same thinking to life today. Have your game plan, but don't be a slave to it. Life will throw curveballs, and you've got to be able to roll with them. You know when too much is too much - but don't let the fears of what you could achieve hold you back. Nothing bad ever happened before, so..."
He stabbed a piece of strawberry crêpe, swirled it around in confectioner's sugar, and stuck it in his mouth without realizing that he just opened up the heavens and showered me with a new way of thinking. That bike-riding story had always stopped at my fear of losing control - I never extended it to the fact that nothing bad ever happened. Plotting every step of everything was making me more exhausted than the actual act of doing the things that are within my control. By the time we wrapped up our afternoon date, I had such a clearer view (and dare I say it - game plan) on the things I battle with the most: trusting myself, letting life happen, and easing up my vice grip on the way I think things should be.
And just in case I fall back into hardcore jigsaw puzzle mode, I bought a book of word searches. I really am better at those anyways.
Are you a control freak like me? How do you manage it? If you're more of a let-life-happen type, let me know how you avoid the trap of being overly controlling! And if you're in Toronto, let me know what your favourite Kensington Market shop is! The warm weather is coming and I'll be heading down there more often!