Why you should worrying about The One and just buy a bike

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Four months in Toronto and I’m like a broken television. I can’t quite seem to present a clear picture and the channel keeps changing. People keep asking me if Toronto is The One and I huff and puff a little, saying “I just don’t know. I’m glad I’m here, I’m around for the foreseeable future, but is this me forever? Who knows?” 


On a micro-level (the direct introductions and experiences – planned stuff), I love everyone I’ve met: both inside and outside of work people have been warm, intelligent, funny and kind. Experiences such as volleyball, softball, music gigs and festivals, meals out, meals in, friends’ birthdays, introductions to people, they’ve all been amazing. Rationally I genuinely couldn’t have asked for or designed a better move-countries experience (except for DHL and landlords who double-book apartments). The wealth of restaurants, festivals, films, activities – it’s been incredible. Not to mention the emergence of two good friends here who’ve put up with my flickering screen, tardy tune-in time and reminiscing of UK life (“and another thing!”). 


And yet on a macro-level, I felt real anger at a guy on a streetcar who ranted about America’s debt problem VERY LOUDLY, because actually America’s debt problem is everybody’s debt problem. I was pretty miffed with the shop assistant who accused me of fleeing to Canada “because of what happened in Greece”. Europe – just one big set of dominos apparently. I was mildly irritated by an American who having met me in person, casually referred to me as “that European girl”. Irritating – not because I don’t identify with Europe, but because I strongly identify with being British. (It’s amazing how this sense of national pride emerged once I left the country.) You won’t meet anyone from anywhere in Europe who simply refers to themselves as “European”. Geographical scale and weight of identity aren’t linked. 


This moodiness and soapbox inner monologue could just be my Subconscious having trouble adjusting to a more permanent life here. For a start I’m moving into my own apartment, having spent the last three months subletting from friends and I’m approaching the end of my probationary period at work, which is both reassuring and slightly terrifying. It’s the only agency I’ve worked for which actually adheres to its own HR policy and I actually end my three months with a formal development plan. I’m also struggling to timetable everything I want to do and as such will have to cut down Facebook time, which has become responsible for too many late nights (though I can blame “proper blogging” tonight). The trouble is as I transition from the intensity of homesickness to a much less interesting space between restlessness and loneliness, Facebook gives me the “this-is-your-life” fix I need, because even with the best intentions, four months of living, isn’t a life.


Yet in the midst of all of this frustration, came an important life lesson….


I bought a bike yesterday. 


After several weeks of exploring second hand bike shops, Kijiji and Craig’s List, I had a “fuck it” moment (prompted by my friend Dawn) and just went and bought a sporty, little number (my brief “nothing too girly please”) from a shop down the road. As it turned out, I got a decent bike for $500 from wonderful Cycle Path, which actually wasn’t much more than some of the second-hand bikes I’d seen and comes with a lifetime servicing/maintenance agreement, which I thought was pretty cool.  


This experience reminded me of an article I read a while back on “Maximisers versus Satisficers”… with Maximisers being those people who incessantly research their options, determined to find the best option and Satisficers being those peeps who settle on a decision once their immediate set of criteria are met.  I had made myself tired and unhappy by trying to get the best possible bike within my set of criteria, not to mention missing weeks of potential cycling time. I can’t tell you how happy I felt coming out of the shop with the bike, just pleased that I now had a two-wheeled friend.


So as I cycled along with the sun on my face and wind playing with my hair, I figured I’m going to take a holiday from my Maximiser mode and coast along on Satisficer for a bit. I guess if you’re always looking for that pot of gold, you might just miss the rainbow. (Wanky metaphor speak for stop worrying about Canada being The One, making perfect decisions and pleasing everybody.)


Worked for Zen Dog…



And Bobby McFerrin…