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I stand on the edge of the dance floor watching couples glide, spin, and groove as they dance the West Coast Swing. The tempo of the music is fast, but the beating of my heart is faster. I want to dance, but I'm afraid I'm not good enough.

我站在舞池边,看着人们一对一对地在跳西海岸摇摆舞,他们滑动舞步、旋转着、享受着。音乐节奏很快,但我的心跳更快。我想跳舞,又忧虑跳得欠好。

The song ends, and as another begins, a white-haired gentleman with a rakish smile offers me his hand and pulls me onto the floor, waving away my protests that I'm only a beginner.

一首乐曲完毕,另一首开端了,一位淡色头发的绅士面带浅笑向我伸出手,把我拉进舞池,我作为初学者的惊骇一扫而空了。

Okay. If he can do this, so can I.

好吧,假如他能跳,那我也能跳。

I manage to find a respectable groove, but whenever he tries to lead me in anything other than the basic steps, I stumble. All I can do is smile a lot and apologize even more.

我总算觉着自己跳得不错了,但他带着我跳根本舞步之外的动作时,我就会绊到。我所能做的便是多浅笑,但更多的仍是抱歉。

After I've mumbled sorry for the tenth time, he laughs and says, "It's okay. You're blonde."

我第十次喃喃地抱歉之后,他笑着说:“不要紧,你的金发很漂亮。”

Huh? It's delivered like a compliment, and I decide to take it as one; if I can't be graceful, I can at least be gracious. But later, after the shoes have come off and I'm in my own quiet room, his words keep dancing through my head. They start wearing a different kind of groove, leading to questions like:

嗯?听起来像恭维我,我决议就当成是恭维吧。假如我不能跳得很高雅,至少能够文质彬彬。但后来我脱掉鞋安静地坐在自己屋里时,他的话一向萦绕在我的脑际。我开端觉着那些话有些弦外之音,使我想到了几个问题:

Do I act blonde? If you believe the stereotype, blondes are assumed to be helpless, shallow, unambitious or naive. Now I know these traits have nothing to do with hair color. Still, something in this idea strikes a nerve.

我体现得像金发美人吗?假如你信任老一套的说法,就知道金发美人被以为无助、浅薄、要求不高或许天真,现在我知道了这些特色都和头发色彩不要紧。但总会有些东西说到你心里。

Why do I apologize so much? In what ways do I minimize myself and my efforts?

为什么我要说那么多抱歉的话?我是怎样把自己和自己的尽力说得什么都不是的?

How seriously do I take myself?

我有很认真地看待自己吗?

In an effort to answer these questions, I promptly dye my hair brown and begin collecting data. I discover that I feel plainer, duller, and more average with darker hair. I also feel more thoughtful, more discerning, more earnest. In the words of Oscar Wilde, "Life is too important to be taken seriously."

为了找到答案,我马上把头发染成棕色,开端收集答案。我发现深色头发使我感觉自己更一般、烦闷、一般。我也感觉自己更睿智、更有眼光、也更真挚了。正如奥斯卡·王尔德所说:“日子太重要,不容你不认真对待。”

I suspect that what I want is not to be taken seriously, but to feel important. I forget about my hair color and focus instead on the ways I matter. And I define which things matter most to me.

我想我真实想要的不是让他人拿我当回事,而是要自己感觉自己重要。我不去想头发的色彩,而是重视自己的重要性。我确认了什么对我来说才是最重要的。

As a result of my burgeoning self-importance, I am better able to recognize those around me who sincerely support me.

因为感觉自己很重要的信仰迅速增长,我能更好地判别出身边谁是诚心支撑我的。

Based on my (admittedly unscientific) findings, here’s how you too can identify the people in your life who believe you are important:

依据我的发现(当然不具有科学性),经过以下几点你也能确认日子中谁觉得你很重要:

They listen when you talk.

你说话时他们会倾听。

They don't laugh when you tell them a wild idea.

你说出一个张狂的主意时他们不会讪笑你。

They seek you out for advice.

他们向你征求意见。

When they introduce you to someone, they make a point of saying what you do or mentioning your passion.

他们把你介绍给他人时会着重你是做什么的或说到你的热心肠点。

They understand that we're all learning, so they patiently encourage you to begin again, and again, and again.

他们理解咱们都在学习阶段,所以会耐心肠鼓舞你一遍一遍地重新开端。

They don't mind when you occasionally step on their toes.

你偶然踩到他们脚时他们不会介怀。

They love you no matter what you look like.

不管你什么样他们都喜爱你。

Back on the dance floor, the same man grabs me again. Three months have passed and I have advanced. I finally know the steps and can hold my own.

再去跳舞时,仍是那个男人约请我。三个月过去了,我已经有所提高了。我总算知道怎样跳了,也能控制自己的脚步了。

"Okay, now you've got to work it," he says. "Give me some attitude."

他说:“很好,现在你可得尽力了。让我看到你的情绪。”

I smile, not missing a beat. He's right. This is seriously fun.

我笑了笑,没有跳错一个拍子。他说得对,跳舞真的很风趣。