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I did something today that made me proud of myself.

I’ve been feeling kind of stupid at my new job — it’s been tough going from a job I had for over 14 years, where I knew so much, to knowing nothing at all: not the processes, not the people, where to find things, the titles themselves, even where to eat lunch. It’s a big change, and there have been times that I’ve been completely overwhelmed, and blinking stupidly at my computer like a tired cow. My emails and questions have been self-deprecating, like, “Oh, ha ha, I’m new and silly, forgive me for being so dense,” and while it’s true and has given me some breathing room and patience from recipients, it’s making me even more frustrated and inept.

So today I started an email that said, “This may be a dumb question but…” And I stopped, looked at it and thought, “Why am I doing this? Why am I selling myself short? No, it’s not a dumb question — I need to know this answer and I don’t, and I can’t learn unless I ask. And if I risk sounding dumb, whatever.” So I deleted that line, asked the question, and got the answer: a kind and helpful one.

That’s a big deal for me! I’m so used to self-deprecation that to consciously stop it in its tracks is new for me, and it made me proud — it felt like a turning point in my brain. I don’t need to put myself down or play the fool just to make others comfortable, which is something I tend to do. Now I just need to keep it up, keep learning, and keep asking questions, “dumb” or not… And to remind myself of this, often. I’m going to live up to my potential and kick some ass!

Cue Helen Reddy!

by Karen N. Finlay

When she’s not throwing Mid-Century Potlucks or making her way through her giant stack of “to read” books on her commute, Karen Finlay enjoys her fabulous “old” lady-dom by lounging poolside in a caftan with her husband, friends, and her tiny adopted chihuahuas, Dorothy Parker and Dino Martina. Fifty is truly the new fabulous!