*Disclaimer: I am fully aware of how ridiculous the following will likely sound.
[But what's a blog for if not to make fun of yourself?]
As such, I present to you the following [short] essay on growing up, and how I know I'm making progress in the aforementioned area.
The first time I went to get an oil change, I was scared. Like, really nervous. I wish I could lie and say this first happened when I was sixteen. No, I took my car to get an oil change by myself for the first time just two years ago. I'm not marking an anniversary or anything, just so you know; that was a guess. The point is, I was old enough to not be nervous.
My dad had warned me to not buy anything else. Only an oil change, he said. But that got me thinking... What if they rip me off cuz I'm a girl? What if they mess with my car on purpose so I'll have to go back and spend $5,000 getting it fixed? What if they ask me a super easy question that I don't know the answer to? I freaked myself out before I even went.
When pulled into the garage, my palms were sweaty. They asked me what my license plate number was, but I didn't know and felt stupid. They asked me what kind of oil I wanted, but I didn't know and felt stupid. They asked me what type of engine I had, but I didn't know and felt stupid. I was sweating the entire time I was in there, and when I left I'd never been so relieved in my life.
Just yesterday I went to get an oil change. As I drove out of the garage and back onto the open road, I realized that I hadn't sweat at all. I was able to answer their questions intelligently, and I hadn't gotten nervous even for a moment.
That got me thinking about life and growing up and how I've been learning and practicing and getting better. Most of the time, though, it's such a gradual process that I don't even realize it until I go to do that thing again and discover that I'm way better at it than I used to be.
Sometimes practice is hard and takes conscious thought. But other times it just takes doing something over and over and over again--unconscious improvement. Although, improvement of any kind--conscious or unconscious--is good.
It's something I'm going to work on in 2011, unconsciously, of course.