Well, here it goes. A new adventure in life.
Like all good adventures, there's an equal chance of incredible success or monumental failure. Fortunately, I'm one of those idiotically optimistic individuals who's excited about both possibilities. Since it's officially the first article I've ever written, I feel as if it's only appropriate to write about some universal firsts I've experienced that affect all of our lives at some point.
I know, I know. What can I say? I am a creative genius.
Sadly, some of these important firsts just pass us by without us ever realizing it. However, if you looked back at your years of experience so far, I guarantee you would be able to point to certain moments in your life and say, "That right there. I am a better version of myself because that happened to me."
Whether it pains you to recall it or not, your firsts are a big part of who you are today. Don't bury those moments away with your other mortifying memories. Embrace them.
So, without further ado, here are some firsts I find pretty important:
Your first crush.
… And your first subsequent heartbreak (unless you're really, really lucky). *sigh*
The idea of love is so prominent in your mind that you find yourself wondering how it would be possible for you two to NOT end up together. Then, like my self-esteem after watching the Victoria Secret Fashion Show, all of your romantic dreams come crashing down.
Once the pain subsides and you find your heart still beating, blood still pumping, and lungs still breathing, you are wiser. Realizing that your happiness lies in your own choices, not someone else's, can be a hard concept to grasp sometimes. However, you have to learn it eventually.
So, thank that first grader who told you that you have cooties and broke your fragile, kindergartener heart. They made you a better person.
The first sport you play.
Sports have exemplified so many important lessons over the years. They wouldn't make so many inspirational movies about them if they didn't. I've learned to put forth my best effort at all times, spend each moment of my life as if it were the last, and to be patient with others. The most important lesson playing sports taught me, however, which my eight-year-old self was disgustingly shocked to discover, was that the world did not revolve around me.
Each sport, even seemingly individual ones like golf and tennis, has some sort of team behind them. We are all merely team players. I don't mean any of this in a pessimistic way. You should be open to allowing both yourself and others to succeed at the right times. Finding joy in others' success will make you so much more peaceful with your own life. Remove the selfishness and envy and make room in your heart to care for the happiness of those around you.
Your first big disappointment.
If you're a dreamer like me, then this first may really hurt you. You've held your expectations far too high, and only when they are cruelly obliterated do you realize your mistake. Then, regardless of the pain, you make the mistake over and over again. I'm here to tell you that, yes, even the worst occasions of your life are beneficial to you.
While I am a firm believer in tough love and learning things the hard way, I also have, over a long, long, long, period of time, come to realize that some awful things were meant to happen for a reason. When you make peace with the constant possibility of disappointment, you become much more content with your life. I like to think of a saying I read years ago that reads, "If it won't matter three years from now, then don't let it affect your life today." Maybe it was meant to be, and maybe something better is waiting for you right around the corner.
Your first big success.
I'm not proud to admit that I coasted into high school off of awards I'd earned and recognition I'd received in middle school. When I arrived, I discovered that no one actually cared about my life before high school. All that mattered was who I was in that moment and how I could make use of my opportunities in the present.
That is exactly the problem with success, fame, and fortune. It's all fleeting. While your failures do not define you, neither do your achievements. They are a big part of your past, and you should be proud of them. However, they are mere fragments of the story of your life, and you are so much more than them. Do not let the past keep you from living in the present.
Your first day of college.
Wow, I can remember it as if it were only seven months ago. How do I describe this accurately? It was like watching a football fly through the air and then realizing far too late that its projected landing point is your face. I had done everything to prepare myself for college physically, but I had forgotten all about emotional preparation. I found myself suddenly alone in a 10-by-11-foot dorm room with a roommate I barely knew, preparing to both rush a sorority and begin taking classes for my future job. Talk about pressure.
Going to college is a significant change in anyone's life. Not until you're thrown into the deep end without a life preserver will you discover that everything you've learned in life has led up to this moment. Your first taste of freedom and individuality is scary, but oh so crucial to your personal development. Once you make it through the first semester you realize that if you can adapt to college, you can adapt to anything.