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No longer first

During a recent conversation with a friend, we talked about how it sometimes seems that we’ve hit all of the “firsts” in life and how that can be difficult sometimes.

The first 40 years are full of firsts: first day of school, first kiss, first love, first car, first apartment, first job, first (and if you’re lucky only) marriage, maybe first baby. So many things to look forward to and then you hit this point in life and wonder, what is there to look forward to? What are the next firsts? And that lack of firsts brings a nostalgia and sadness to it. What are we supposed to do with the rest of our years?

As I was pondering this today, I realized that maybe the key to happiness in aging is letting go of the need for firsts. Think about it. Children always want to be first—first in line, first to open presents. It’s all about me, me, me.

Maybe true adulthood happens when you stop feeling the need for firsts that revolve around you and start enjoying the simpler kind of firsts. First snowfall of the year, first flowers of spring, first cup of coffee in the morning (my favorite), first bite of a hot fudge brownie sundae, first time you travel to a new place.

Taken by themselves, these firsts aren’t quite as momentous as the big milestones in life. Taken together, though, they fill in the gaps between milestones, and maybe as we get older we realize that these are the firsts that make our everyday lives rich. 

What are the "firsts" that make your life rich?

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  1. Gigi

    Gigi on 12/14/2012 7:42 a.m. #

    Seeing a new grand baby for the first time. Watching them experience the first things in their lives.

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