I didn't expect to have fun. I didn't even want to go. The decision was driven less by anticipation or social pressure than by the fear that the bosses would take the view, though not wrong, that I am anti-social and a complete introvert.
Such social events are always an opportunity for me to congratulate myself and to stock-take on the progress that I have made over the years. I never cease to be amazed at how well I fit into the crowd, or at least appear to fit into the crowd, it's almost at least that awkward, our-of-place teenager never existed.
That said, that teenage girl continues to haunt me deep down. I fear saying the wrong thing, bringing the joke too far, overthink the details of my conversation and interactions. Sure, the process of deliberation and reflection has become shorter over the years. I obsess over social faux pas moments for a couple of hours rather than days now.
I need to work harder. That confidence will be a front no more.