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  • Writer's picturetatum van dam

first time's the charm

“No, I don’t want to… it goes upside down. I told you, I will go on any ride except the ones with the loopty-loops!” I tugged at my aunt’s arm in a gracious attempt to avoid the queue for what appeared to be anything but a good time.

…and moments later, I was trying my hardest not to shake. Front row, harness is drawn over neck, feet dangling, and holding onto the handlebars with the tightest possible grip, we were slowly ascending towards what I presumed to be heaven. Tick tick tick tick. “Are you ready?” my aunt asked, with a smile on her face. “Don’t talk to m-”, and mid-sentence, BAM. Along with my heart, the roller coaster dropped. A few sharp turns were made, a few looptey-loops were looptey-looped, and by the time I knew it, I was running back to the queue that I feared approaching moments prior.

Life is like a rollercoaster - it has its ups and downs, and ultimately it is up to you to scream every time you turn, or put your hands up and enjoy the ride.

Think about a time you were the happiest about something. A time you were at peak excitement about what you were doing, or perhaps the most anxious. In other words, think about the last time you tried something for the first time. As I sat here trying to figure out what to write for my first article, I then realized the amount of pressure that comes with it. My first article.

There’s something so great, yet so terrifying about doing something you have never done before.

Whether we would like to or not, we often remember and tend to compare our present experiences to the very first time we did them. For instance, think about the first time you lived away from home. The first time you traveled alone. Your first crush, relationship, or even your first love. These kinds of memories combined, good and bad, stick with us forever.

Now, I’m not trying to make you nostalgic or take you on a nice little stroll down memory lane. It is often a bittersweet time looking back on memories, and it’s equally important that we continue to make new ones as often as possible.

Scientific research shows people have enjoyed the best memories of their lives by the time they are twenty-five years old. This is otherwise known as “the reminiscence bump”, and scientists are not trying to figure out how it exists, but why it exists. A point very obvious to me is that our teenage and young adult years are the years we try new things, and through doing these things, create an identity for ourselves.

Being exposed to so many “firsts” helps us grow, teaches us about our personal preferences, and ultimately embeds themselves into our minds.

When was the last time you tried something new? If you had to scratch your head and think for a hot minute to remember, I’ve created a list of topics with plenty of “firsts” to explore: Friendships/relationships, Travel, Volunteering, Food, Careers, Art, and Outdoor activities/sports

Whether that be to something as little as changing up your Starbucks order (although I do recommend Peet’s), or perhaps skydiving over the Swiss Alps, try something new every day.

Saying yes to more first times can lead to some of the greatest, and ultimately unexpected moments of your life.

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