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Wine and Cheese or Wine and Control?: How a Party became a Lesson in Letting Go

  • February 4, 2019
  • By Karen
Wine and Cheese or Wine and Control?: How a Party became a Lesson in Letting Go

We hosted a wine and cheese party just before Christmas. All the guests were asked to bring their favourite wine and cheese. But what they ended up bringing me was a lesson in what my own signs of anxiety look like– and how I can begin to move past them.

Before the party, I found an informal tastings checklist sheet on Pinterest and printed it out.  We had slate cheese picks for labeling. We had extra cheese knives for all the types: hard, soft and everything in between. I logged all of the wines on a master sheet. And my charcuterie board was a beautiful sight to behold, if I do say so myself.

Yes, Karen was in fine party prep form. I’d even planned on writing a blog post afterward about how to throw a successful wine and cheese party.

During the party, I did my best to keep everything under control. But you know what happens when you are the hostess; your attention is drawn into a million different directions.

And here’s the thing: some people were into the tastings and others not so much.  I found that I quickly had to let go of my expectations of what the event “should” be. I decided to just let my friends eat, drink, and be merry. At that point, I abandoned the master sheet. A  wine and cheese party like I’d planned it wasn’t in the cards that evening. Going with the flow and the energies of our guests was.

Was I disappointed? Yeah, a bit. But why? Because I had an expectation of the way it was supposed to go down. But as a former Controller of Everything, I’d say I rolled with the punches pretty darn well and I’m proud of myself. I think my official title is now: Doer of Her Damn Best At Managin’ Expectations and Releasing Them.

After the wine and cheese party, I came across a resource on social media that gave examples of signs of anxiety. One was “the desire to control other people and events”. Now previously, I had no idea that controlling behaviour was an anxious behaviour.  

I’ve tried to control other people and events for most of my life and I always thought that it was because I like a plan.  Now I’d say that part of it is about having a plan and being organized but another part is anxiety. Insert the big eyeballs here.  For me, controlling behaviour is about being safe and having my needs met.

Another behaviour I saw listed as one of the signs of anxiety was defiance. Seriously…my whole childhood I was defiant! I know I was a scared, insecure little girl and defiant and controlling behaviour were most definitely ways to feel safe.  Guess what? Defiance in particular definitely didn’t give me the safety I was looking for, but it did get me attention and not the positive kind! Now, I wonder if being stubborn or avoiding compromise is related here?

Well, anyway, thanks to that wonderful but expectation-defying wine and cheese party, I’m newly aware of a life-long struggle with anxiety. It’s so funny to be learning so much about myself in my 50s.

How about you? I would really appreciate keeping a conversation going. If you’d like to share in the comments please do! What are you learning about yourself in your 40s and 50s that comes as an utter surprise?


By Karen, February 4, 2019
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Sunchokes, 3 ways!
Red Velvet Brownies
  • Sherry Joel
    February 7, 2019

    oh Karen, this is so me, always trying to control everything. Thanks for this insight, and it only took til my 60s

  • Karen Ann Davidson
    February 7, 2019

    You are welcome Sherry! Hey, I say better late than never 😉

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