On this particular summer evening we were on foot. Walking the neighborhood, as young lovers. I bravely steered us on the long, dark walk to the back of a neighbor’s yard. I had been to this place before, but never with intent, or you.
I leaned in for your lips. I felt warmth, smelled faint sweet cinnamon and held you as close as I had ever held anyone. I knew what I wanted to do, but didn’t know if you, or I, would let me.
Slowly we made our way down onto the lawn and, emboldened, I reached for the front of your brown corduroy pants. Once there I ever so slowly slid my hand downward. You didn’t move, didn’t react. I knew this was new terrain for both of us. And I was in for a big surprise.
I reached where, if you had been a male, I would have met the object I was seeking. I, of course, knew that women are built differently, but I had no idea how much further I had to go to feel a woman for the first time.
It must only have been hundredths of a second between where I expected to feel something and where I actually did. But to date those are the longest fractions of a second of my life.
This wasn’t to be an evening of pleasure for either one of us, but one of bravery and wonder. When my fingers arrived at their destination they weren’t bold anymore, they were untested, in a new land, a new planet. I held them there for what might have been seconds, removed my hand and felt that something ominous had happened.
You were not yet a woman and I was not yet a man. But we weren’t quite kids anymore either: we held hands tight as we could supporting each other as I walked you home.
On your porch we kissed goodnight with new intimacy, reaching for each other’s lips as confirmation of moments shared.
Walking home I missed you for the first time, street light to harsh street light reminded me that I was alone but had just been touching you, and been touched by you.
The importance of first times
That evening in the back yard I was barely 15. I am now 65. First times are important no matter how old you are; they reform, transform and inform you of who you are and what you are capable of.
They remind you that you are never too old to do something new. First times keep you paying attention, curious and living on your toes with awareness.
Do something for the first time today!
First times change us forever.
Do something small: Yesterday, after relieving myself, I wound the toilet paper round my hand, and then wiped myself. I have never wound it round my hand before. While how you use the toilet paper is no big deal, that it changed and I noticed inspired me and invited me to notice little things I do that make me more present.
Do something big: A while ago I ran a conference call with 15,000 people on it. I thought it would be scary talking to so many people. It wasn’t. It was fun, highly energetic and easy.
I’ve discovered four really cool ways to create more first time experiences:
Adding novelty to the little things: brushing my teeth with the other hand, pulling on the other pant leg first, taking a different route to work or making love in a new position. All of these offer an interruption of business as usual and a first time experience.
Mismatching: Most people notice what is the same, which results in fewer first time experiences. Instead notice what is different, or original. Notice patterns in the clouds, how this trip to town is like no other, how this breath is subtly different than the one before it or after it and how each day offers new and different things you can do for the first time.
Say yes: Say “yes” more often and you will discover that inspires first time opportunities. Many people are ready with a “no”, try “yes” instead and watch what happens.
Changing your pace: I was hiking up Sunset Peak in Phoenix. It is a steep walk and I had my head down and was lumbering along. Noticing this inspired me to pick up my pace, look around me and experience my walk, and myself for the first time that morning.
Talking more rapidly, like a quiz show participant or s-l-o-w-l-y like good old boys sitting on the back porch alters what you say, resulting in you saying things you might never have said before. Vary the speed at which you think to discover new, first time thoughts.
First times offer you a youthful approach to life, they keep you young, curious and attentive. They soften hardening perspectives and points of views—making you young at heart often in a new, interesting world.
Author: Jerry Stocking
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Flickr/Courtney Carmody