Can you recall the ‘firsts’ in your life? Chances are, you won’t be able to recall your initial words or the first tentative steps you took in early childhood. You may remember the first time you rode a bike without training wheels. I do. I was seven years old and my father stood behind me, holding on to the back of the seat. At his signal, I began pedaling down the sidewalk. He ran after me and then let go. I almost immediately crashed into the tree in the front yard. This was before helmets. Fortunately, I didn’t hit my head. After making sure I was uninjured, he said, “Okay, get back on the bike. You can do it.” And do it, I did. I wobbled a little bit and within a moment or so, I made my way on the sidewalk, really proud of myself. He was proud of me too, but not just because I rode my bike, but because I got back in the saddle. As it was with all of the challenges that followed, which he and my mother were there to witness, they didn’t want me to be afraid. Yes, I could hesitate. Yes, they praised the effort and not just the success.
I think about the many ‘firsts’ as I am approaching 65. I remember the first time I jumped off the high dive in our local pool, much to the gripping fear of my mother. The life guard assured her that I would be able to do it safely since I had been taking swimming lessons for at least two summers. If he saw that I was floundering, he would go in after me. No need, as, despite my own trepidation and desire to back down, which I couldn’t do since other kids were in line behind me, I took the leap, sank a little and then rose triumphant and swam to the side. A few years later, I remember the sense of amazement when I won my first of many blue ribbons as a competitive swimmer.
As I do a life review, I remember my first kiss, my first time experiencing sexual intimacy with a man and then later in my 20s, with a woman. I recall the first time I drove and my first car, a Chevy Chevette. (It’ll drive you happy). I remember the first concert I attended in my teens, yacht rock performers Seals and Crofts, sweetly singing Summer Breeze. I remember my first time on an airplane, on my way back from driving with a college friend who moved from NJ to GA. We had survived mostly on tuna and rice cakes and fruit enroute since we couldn’t afford to dine on anything fancier. To this day, whenever I eat that combination, I think of that road trip.
I remember the first time I was on stage, in my 6th grade version of Cinderella, as the wicked step mother when I wanted to play the lead role. I remember doing a modeling photo shoot for Sears when I was 12. I remember the first time when I was an artists model in my 20s. It was a lot chillier than the first modeling gig and I had to sit, unmoving for a lot longer than I stood here.
I remember interviewing my first celebrities, as a magazine publisher, including Shirley MacLaine, Ram Dass, Dennis Weaver, Deepak Chopra, Jack Canfield, Olympia Dukakis and Ben & Jerry. They were preparation for my time interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
I celebrate publishing my first book called The Bliss Mistress Guide To Transforming The Ordinary Into The Extraordinary in 2011. I acknowledge my first solo overseas trip when I traveled to Ireland in 2018 to celebrate turning 60.
A few nights ago, I sat, kvelling with pride as my friend Lisa Graham received an award from Soroptimist International for being an inspirational Woman of Distinction. It was her first such award and her family and friends who gathered there, knew that there would be other awards that awaited her since she is what I call a mover and shaker agent of change. She spoke about the acronym related to experiencing firsts of any type. Each letter represented a quality that goes into the mix.
“When was the last time you did something for the first time?” ~ John C. Maxwell.
This Post is republished on Medium.
Photos courtesy of author. Used with permission.
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