Tuesday, September 26, 2006

At Least I'm Not Crying in the Bathroom this Time

New Job Post #1:

I've decided that starting a new job is a little like starting a new high school - with less teen angst and better clothing choices. There is meeting your new peers and your superiors, learning where everything is located, what your schedule is like and what your options are for lunch.

Today, my second day of work, I ventured down to the cafeteria at lunch time. It made me think about twelve(!) years ago when I started the 7th grade in a new school district with no friends. Back then, I dreaded lunch time because it always meant severe anxiety. Who was I going to sit with?! What if my lunch isn't cool?! Why doesn't anyone want to be my friend?! Honestly, this terror led me to spend more than a couple lunch hours hiding in the bathroom being miserable with life and wanting the security of my old school and friends back.

Even in college, most of us spent all of freshman year in large groups flocking to the dining hall at meal times. No one wanted to get left behind. If you somehow missed the big group trip, you would frantically IM everyone else on your buddy list to find out if they had already gone too. Then if they had - the horror! The only choice then was to go get something to go and bring it back to your room and your friends (those traitorous group meal thwarters).

It is on days like today when I look back at those memories and really see how (blessedly) far I have come. I still have a tendency to be shy and somewhat awkward around strangers, but I now have the ability to walk confidently into the cafeteria where I know absolutely no one, find myself a seat and eat my lunch with no anxiety whatsoever. Did I really ever care so much? It's hard to believe.

I still don't have any friends though.

I guess my next life lesson should be "Strangers and You: How to Approach Someone Else in the Cafeteria Without Friends and Make them Yours."

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