I remember sitting on the steps outside my first-grade classroom with my mother because I didn’t want to go in. I was 5.
I remember taking my first plane ride with my family, for a vacation in Bermuda. I was 17.
I remember driving a stick shift for the first time, behind a camel, on the road outside the Casablanca airport. I was 25.
I remember giving birth to my first child, son Colby. I was 32.
I remember spending the night in the hospital, before my first operation (a hysterectomy.) I was 44.
I’m certain these were my emotions while I experienced memorable “firsts” in my life, but, for the life of me, I can never actually reconstruct my state of mind. All I can do is see myself. So when those three decades younger than I do, say or feel something that I don’t understand, I’ve got to force myself to step back in time and remember that I was once there, too; maybe not exactly as they are, but close enough.
Our lives are a massive collection of “firsts,” good and not so good: Our first argument with our best friend; rejection letter from a potential employer; trip to Europe; raw oyster; martini; sexual encounter; car. You get my point. And now I’m ready to embrace the next set of firsts that await me in the New Year.
Remember, there’s no second act.