I know, it sounds ridiculous and very Canadian, but stick with me. There is a story here.
Tonight I went to OCAD to listen to Adam J. Kurtz speak. It had been a long day at home, where this image came to mind more than once during the day.
a dark, not so great photo taken at 6:10 a.m. as I try to type this up off of my phone, in a dark bedroom before the kids wake up.
And because I have the most supportive husband (seriously, Eric, I am so thankful for you), he made sure that he was home after work in good time, so that I could go.
I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.
I took the subway and got off at St. Patrick station. I had an hour before the talk and all I wanted was a tea. A medium steeped tea with milk and sugar.
I figured that there had to be a Tim Horton’s or Starbucks close to the college. I didn’t even grab a tea before I got on the subway because I banked on the fact that there had to be one close to OCAD.
I couldn’t find one anywhere.
Lesson #1: I overthink things. I should have just gotten a tea before getting on the subway if I really wanted one. I had lots of time.
After finding OCAD, I Googled Tim Horton’s near OCAD.
It looked like quite a walk west but I figured I would have time. There should still be seats left.
Lesson #2: I’m a worrier. (This isn’t new learning for me.)
I don’t want to miss out or put myself in an awkward position of walking in late or not having a place to sit. When really, I could just sit on the floor.
Halfway to the supposed Tim Horton’s, I turned around. I couldn’t see it up ahead and decided to cut my losses. Lesson #3: That’s very much a Lainie thing. If it’s not a sure thing and I can’t clearly see it, I cut bait.
I walked back and wandered into the OCAD building. I felt completely out of place. Young artists were wearing whatever they wanted; the weirder (to me), the better. Lesson #4: I admire style and creative expression in others, and yet I’m afraid to do it myself.
I finally found the lecture hall. They wouldn’t open the doors until 6:45 p.m. I looked at my phone: 6:15 p.m. I sat on the floor and waited in the hall, watching people go by with Tim Horton’s cups and Starbucks. I was so tempted to ask where they found it.
Good thing I rushed here, I thought to myself. I sat and waited for 40 minutes. Then once we got inside, we waited for another 20+ minutes. I looked at my phone. 7:12. Come on guys, who’s organizing this thing? Why is he standing out in the hall talking to people? Is this annoying anyone else? as I looked around the room. I was getting so impatient.
Lesson #4: I’m so impatient (not new learning.) Things need to be exactly as advertised. As much as I love to buck the system and challenge authority, I am a rule follower when I want to be.
The talk was incredible. Absolutely incredible. I wish there was a video of it somewhere so you could watch it too. His messages so important to us all. I’m going to write up a blog post about it so you can hear some of his talk. Anyways, it was one of those things were the timing was perfect. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I love when that happens.
And then it was over. I started walking back to the subway, feeling lighter and more inspired. There was almost a sense of confidence (I can do this) that I have totally been lacking. And then I saw it.
A Tim Horton’s.
It was just steps from the subway station. Seriously.
I was so worried (nudge nudge, this is where the metaphor for my life is coming in).
I was worried about knowing where I was going. I was worried about who might already be there and if there would be a spot for me. I was so focused on the end destination that I blew right by what I was looking for and needed. It was right in front of my face had I taken the time to notice.
See the analogy now?
Lessons #5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12. It’s so me right now. I so badly want to create something that is meaningful. Meaningful to me and to others. I want to have my own thing, my own style of creating. I don’t know what it is and it worries me.
I compare myself to others and feel lesser. I’m so worried about financially providing for my family (I was almost on the Sunshine List at one time. Now I make money from sewing projects here and there. I’ve been on leave from my job since 2015, at home caring for the kids – something I never imagined myself doing).
I don’t know what I want to do or where I’m going and I feel so much pressure (self-imposed). I worry that there is no place for me in the creative world and yet I know that it is so me.
I just need to stop and relax. I need to make things for fun. I need to do Lainie things without worrying about how it might be perceived. I feel encouraged to take my time and to pay attention to what’s going on around me.
It’s time to make for me.
This post was written entirely on my short subway ride home after the talk. No edits and quickly thrown into Notes on my phone. And with a Timmy’s steeped tea in hand.
It felt profound at the time. We’ll see what kind of a read it makes.
And because I’m a nerd, I’m keeping the cup. I’ll use it to hold pencils and pens on my desk. A reminder to hold back on the worrying and to be mindful of what’s in front of me; then I’ll find what I’m looking for.