Lately, I’ve been having lots of conversations about the timing of things in our lives. Deep, I know. Lots of stuff about how some things are forever, some are for a short time and others are just for once. It’s the ‘once-only’ stuff that got me thinking. Although advertisers will tell you almost anything is once-in-a-lifetime, there aren’t many things that actually are. It was difficult to come up with this list, but here are 5 things I can think of that will truly only ever happen to you once. (Of course, I could have included death, but I’m not sure we really experience it, plus it’s just dismal). If you can think of more, please add them as a comment!
1. BIRTH – Sadly, we’re not really in the moment for this one. Maybe because our bodies are being squeezed through a tube like a sausage through a needle. Or because our heads are squished through a hole like a tennis ball through a piping bag. Or just because you’re pulled from a warm, safe, peaceful existence into a bright, loud world where all you can hear is yourself crying. OK. I retract my opening sentence. Perhaps it’s best that we only experience this once, and that the memory is stored far, far away in that amazingly programmed machine called the mind.
2. FIRST LOVE – In this we are ever so present because it normally happens in the teenage years, when every emotion is heightened. The joy, the lust, the longing and the inevitable pain when it all falls apart are experienced on an acute level unlikely to be repeated in your lifetime. It’s giddy, giddy uncontrollable giddiness, accompanied by insecurity, uncertainty and pure bliss. Sure, you’ll fall in love again and again, but every time afterwards will be influenced in some way by this very first time, so kids, if you’re reading (and you’re probably not), make it count! Maybe mum or dad can pass that one on!
3. YOUR FIRST KISS – So it looks like we’re working in a life-stage pattern, but here’s a most disappointing reality; you will only ever experience your first kiss once. Unlike falling in love, which covers a period of months to years, your first kiss lasts only a few moments to minutes. My first one was in an old-school shopping centre photo booth. Caught on film. Way before Paris Hilton and those bloody Kardashians made it popular. (I guess I missed my time). Anyhoo, it was nerve-wracking, butterflies-in- your-tummy yummy weightlessness, and I’ll never forget it, and while I can only speak of this one experience, most people I know tell me the same thing. Never-had-it-since innocent, nervous bliss.
4. LOSING YOUR VIRGINITY – This one is probably more subjective…Unlike falling in love and first kisses, but very much like being born, I’m glad this only happens once. It’s a one-word reason. AWKWARD! It’s clumsy, weird and full of pressure; good or not good. Where, when? Right time, right place, right person? Does it ever live up to the expectation? Perhaps if there was no expectation it would be better, but it’s generally so built up by the time you get there that the weirdness overshadows the experience. Next time is better. And the next, and the next, but you’ve gotta start somewhere, huh?
5. MEETING YOUR NEWBORN–The culmination of all this loving, kissing and mating brings us back to point number 1, birth. Poetic really, and I didn’t even plan it. Although technically you can do this once, twice, even 14 times if you’re that weird octomum in the USA, the first time you hold each new baby in your arms is a significant and never-to-be-had again moment. Each child you bear is a unique little individual, and the first time you lay eyes on that special person is infused with emotion, meaning and thought. Yes, some of those thoughts are ‘glad that’s over, I’d love a shower and a nap,’ but most are observing, nuzzling and checking out the squirmy little creature in your arms, sizing each other up and setting up one of the most important relationships of your entire lifetime. Treasure it. You only get that time once.
So after struggling to find my 5 things, I’ve come up with something rather philosophical: every moment of your life is once-in-a-lifetime. There are the big moments, like the ones on this list, but the reality is, you’ll never get a single moment back once it’s passed. So I learned something from this: to accept that every moment is fleeting, to enjoy the moments you love, and to know the others will pass. I told you this was deep.