My mom kissed me on my forehead and tucked me into my bed for the fourth time that night. She had to be losing her patience. I had been up and down all night. She’d put me down one minute and a few minutes later I would be up-and-out of bed again. I was getting ready to start a new phase in my life and had a lot on my mind: I was heading off the next day for my first day of elementary school.
I was excited, but my mind raced with questions:
–Would I make friends?
–Would the other kids play nice?
–Would I stutter or stammer? (I stuttered a lot back in the day and, when I’m tired, I still occasionally stammer, blending two or three words together so quickly that it’s hard to tell what I’ve said.)
–Would I fit in?
Getting used to something different!
My mom tried to calm me, but it wasn’t working. She had gotten me a glass of milk and had rubbed my back. Still, I was worried. I would be riding the school bus and starting a new routine. I wouldn’t have my two older brothers to protect me. I’m sure they weren’t helping matters much by punching me on the shoulder and telling me to “suck it up.”
Despite my worries, school, as it turned out, was a breeze. I got on the school bus in the morning and, before I knew it, I was back on it in the evening, heading home. All these years later, I don’t remember much about the day or even the school year, just that one day turned into another, then another. In time, it became a part of my schedule and is now a distant, fuzzy memory.
A return of the first-day jitters!
Like that little kid starting school, I started a new job in March. For the first time in years, I wouldn’t know any of my coworkers. They wouldn’t know anything about me. I wouldn’t even know where to turn for help. I would be starting everything new.
As you might guess, I had some of the same silly concerns that I had starting school. My concerns were more adult in tone, but sounded familiar: Would my laptop arrive on time? Would I have any problems logging into work? Would I make friends with my coworkers?
While 10-year-old me, fretted and worried, the grown-adult version of me, a tad more sarcastic in my old age, put aside the fears and thought about one of my favorite quotes from the old TV show MASH. On two episodes of the the show, Dr. Sidney Freeman, a psychiatrist, visits with patients and staff and says: “Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice: Pull down your pants and slide on the ice.”
Of course, my first week on the job raced by — just like my first week of elementary school, high school, and college for that matter. Before I knew it, one day turned into nearly two months on the job.
Yes, yes, it really is easy, you just need to pull down your pants and slide on the ice!