Being the new kid often feels like arriving at a Strawberry Shortcake convention in your Marilyn Manson outfit. The eyes that stare say so much without having to say anything at all. Between fear, curiosity, annoyance or ambivalence, they’re normally as nervous and shocked as you feel. Change isn’t adapted to well by many people because people and their comfort zones have shacked up together for so long that the line between the norm and a comfort zone stopped coming in due to lack of interest.
They say that all great change begins at the dinner table. But I haven’t received an invite to dinner… So now what?
It’s up to you. And who you do it with is more important than how you do it. It all comes down to people; to those whom you keep in your life and how they add to or detract from your journey. Think of all the people you meet as being collaborative artists for the tapestry that is your life. There are all sorts of colours and textures that the years (and the people in them) should add. So if you are averse to saying cheers and only want to go where everybody knows your name, just think about how empty your tapestry is going to be. And when it comes to being a well-rounded individual, minimalism is not the way forward.
Starting something new is about following your heart so that you can keep stretching, learning and forming new shapes rather than the cookie-cutter shapes you’ve been filling for years. I know a wonderful person who once told me she was looking for a new ride to work every morning. I know this wasn’t literal nor was it simply about geography, but when everything about your daily work starts to feel like a traffic jam, well then yes… it’s time to jump.
If in your life, this is more about what you do every day and less about the choir group you want to leave because they slap you every time you ask them to consider doing a Mariah Carey number (you deserve it), think about the following and be prepared!
Do research on your colleagues: knowing how often your neighbour will scour the interweb for midget porn is crucial to how you time your conversations with them. Stumbling into this unnecessarily may shorten the lifespan of your relationship and be a little awkward all round.
Dress for the group you want to join: I find fishnet stockings and a sequined choker always a good ice breaker. If this fails you, please contact your nearest HR professional for moral support.
Avoid canteen stress on the first day: Get to the microwave ten minutes before the group breaks for lunch and heat up your haddock. This is a popularity guarantee – promise.
Join something: This one’s new to me but I am signed up for the indoor soccer league and am sure I’ll be office champ in no time!
Smile: This should be a genuine smile. If at all this looks suspicious and you get asked why, just say you’re watching midget porn.
Change isn’t as big a deal as you may think – there’s always going to be something that makes you feel like the new kid. Walking into an-already full room of swanky people at a cocktail party, joining an aerobics class (unless you’re this generations Jorge Hernan); having that chat with your boss when you think it’s time he paid you more, or approaching that guy you’ve known for a while but with something very different that you need to tell him… No one can tell you when the time is right. The right time is when the big hand is on your heart and the little hand is on your hope.
Give it a bash. Be the new kid. Life is short.
© Dylan Balkind