Growing up means, in part, learning to do things on your own. Whether it's pay your bills, clean your apartment, do your laundry, or the typical grown-up chores, you just start doing them without being prompted. (Okay, so I admit even at the age of 31, my husband has to occasionally nag me to do my laundry, but that is ONLY when my hamper starts to take over our entire bedroom like a slow-moving swamp creature.)
Another thing that I had a difficult time learning to do for myself was eat alone. College was, for the most part, where I learned to do this. I tend to have all things anxiety when it comes to cafeteria-style eating, probably due in part to watching too many movies or televisions shows in which someone trips and drops her tray to the mocking laughter of everyone else. Of course, I worried about that in college. At first, I never ate by myself. I would only go eat in the cafeteria when my friends were going. Eventually, I learned that breakfast was a safe meal to attend in the cafeteria. There weren't many students at that hour, and I could have a table to myself to read or study, or just sit there and enjoy my watered down, overly creamed and sugared coffee. The important thing was that I WAS EATING ALONE AND OKAY WITH IT.
I have since progressed to eating alone at a sit-down restaurant. While it is not my favorite, never again will I miss a meal for lack of company. However, old anxieties crept up again upon a recent venture outside of my comfort zone.
As I may have mentioned, P.I.C. bought me a fancy camera as a wedding present. It's very nice, but had so many bells and whistles on it that I knew I needed a class. I signed up for one. All by myself. I don't love doing new things without back-up due to my still-present anxiety at being alone. It's just how I am. So when I choose to do things alone, it's kind of a big deal. In this case, my desire to learn photography was greater than my desire to have a buddy. So I did it. Turns out, most people in the class came with a buddy. There was no real problem because there were no "partner" activities, so it was fun until lunch came around.
There was another girl, a loner, in the class, and lucky for me, we had the same camera. It was lunch time, and we had time to eat, but also an assignment. We walked out of the building together and I slowed to talk to her. I asked her if she wanted to grab a bite to eat with me and then do our assignment together. HER RESPONSE WAS LESS THAN STELLAR.
"Um, well, probably not because since we have an hour for lunch, I have some errands to run."
Sigh. I WAS SO UNCOMFORTABLE. I then went to eat at a nearby restaurant BY MYSELF. I sat next to some of the buddied up people in my class who ONLY conversed with the other buddied up people in the class, despite my best efforts to involve myself in their conversations.
This story still makes me cringe. Apparently, I still have some anxiety about being alone. In any event, trust me, I will not stop trying things alone and will not stop opening myself up to get shut-down for lunch dates with strange girls. I've grown up enough to know that taking myself out of my comfort zone is very rewarding and a big part of being an adult.
I've also come to learn that if I just wait until P.I.C. does laundry, I can just throw stuff in with his and VOILA...he does my laundry. What can I say, I might still be an anxious adult, but I have learned a few things about persuasion in my life.
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