As I dropped off my 12-year old son, Ian, at middle school this morning to begin his seventh grade year, I saw in his face that familiar look of anticipation, anxiety, enthusiasm and trepidation. It reminded me that the unknown is laden with both excitement and fear. Who will I hang out with? What will my schedule look like? Will I like my instructors? How will my performance be this year? Will it be fun?
Reminds me of my first day of school each year – in fact, I remember not being able to sleep the night before and, when I did get in a few winks, my dreams were a filled with scenarios of interactions with friends, teachers, classrooms and the like.
Seems we can all relate to these uneasy feelings whether it’s the first day of school, the first day of work, the first time meeting somebody new or the first time any other new opportunity presents itself. We feel, at once, excited and eager, anxious and fearful.
Here’s my advice: Jump in!
I could pepper you with old quips like, “You don’t know unless you try” or “You can’t win if you don’t play.” You already know all of that. Instead, I’ll suggest that you simply dive in knowing there may be moments of anxiety; soon they will give way to more comfortable feelings of belonging.
Whatever first you are embarking upon, start the conversation with easy discussion starters such as,
- “How was your summer?”
- “Did travel at all during your time off?”
- “What are you most excited about as we get started?”
Others may begin conversations with you in this same manner. To prepare yourself to participate in the dialogue, be prepared to answer these questions yourself. Invite others into your world. As your comfort level grows in your new environment and with the people with whom you’re interacting, easy conversation will follow. You will look back a week, a month, a year or more from now and wonder what all that unease was about. My hope is that you will also look back with a sense of pride and nostalgia as you reminisce on the wonder of the journey upon which you embarked.
The CLC Community would love to hear from you. What was a recent first in your life and how did you approach it? How are you feeling about it now? Please leave a comment on CoffeeLunchCoffee.com.