OPINION

The thrill of trying something for the first time

The thrill of trying something for the first time

You have done many different things in your life. Each action you did a first time.

Some of these first-time actions are lost in the fog of childhood. Other first times burn brightly in your memory.

For me, when I think about first times, I think about the birth of my first child, my first university exam (I was highly excited), the first time I drove a car (I was 11 and the car had a stick shift), and my first kiss.

The longer I think, the most firsts come to mind: My first and only softball home run, the first and only time I picked a runner off first base while pitching in a baseball game, my first and only play in an American football game (I did nothing), and my first television interview (I touted an experimental treatment program for sexual assault survivors).

Memory Lane can indeed be a fun place to visit.

I asked a friend about what first-time experiences she remembered. I could tell by the look on her face what one unspoken event was. Then she mentioned driving the first time with her P-plates and getting the first pet of her own.

Another friend mentioned her first day of paid work.

Other people name first-time actions that have special meaning to them: A trip abroad, going to an AA meeting, falling in love, jumping out of an airplane. Still others name finishing a marathon, getting married, or saving someone from drowning.

With treatment, some deaf individuals hear for the first time. Some blind individuals see. Imagine that! You can find video of the events on YouTube.

If you wonder why children often look happy, consider how many first-time experiences they have. I enjoy some of the same thrills when I read a new book or watch a new documentary.

Naturally, I want you to think of first-time experiences in your life. Reliving those moments is worth your time, no?

Which ones come to mind? Can you feel the same emotion as back then? Those memories - what do they tell you about yourself?

I also want you to create new first-time experiences.

You don't have to jump out of a plane. You may not be able to travel overseas.

But you can do something new and exciting.

Writing this article meets those criteria for me in a small way. What will you do for the first time?

John Malouff is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology, University of New England.