First single: Love’s Unkind, Donna Summer.
First live show: Duran Duran.
First crush: Danny Zuko.
First pet: Monty, a white and ginger kitten rescued from drowning. We loved him fiercely until he died of old age and was buried under the peony in the back yard.
First boyfriend: A tall, fair, exceedingly handsome landscape gardener whose name now escapes me. He went on to become a devout Jehovah’s Witness, and I never dated blond dudes again.
First hangover: Ugh! I’d been drinking vodka and orange at a house party. I’ve never drunk it since. Evil!
First apartment: A third floor walk up that I shared with a goth called Kate. Her long, black wig would take up residence in the shower for days at a time, and when she lovingly brushed it, its remains would drop to the floor, to be picked up later in my naked toes. I wonder where she is now …
First bridesmaid experience: The dress was aqua. It had a hoop underskirt, many flounces, and sat, fetchingly, off the shoulder. The best man made jokes about tattooing my bum.
Firstborn: Caitlin, the most interesting person I know. She has a masters in Viking Studies, reads voraciously, and is very, very funny.
First tattoo: The word joy, in my firstborn’s handwriting, on my right wrist.
In 2019, I drove an automatic transmission car for the first time, after a lifetime driving a stick shift (this particular first was also connected to my first near-death experience). I travelled to Saba island in the Caribbean (and saw, slack-jawed, for the first time its resident goats with giant testicles). I saw the NY Phil in Central Park, walked with alpacas, saw New York City through my parents’ eyes, visited Chicago, got spanked in public, skinny-dipped in an icy lake (and was filmed doing it), and popped my Trader Joe’s cherry.
Our firsts don’t end as we grow older. And our curiosity for new experiences is not age-dependent.
Vera Wang didn’t become a fashion designer until she was 40, and Martha Stewart published her first book at the age of 41.
Samuel L Jackson was 45 when he got his first big break (in Pulp Fiction).
Charles Darwin was 50 when he published On The Origin of Species.
“Colonel” Harland Sanders was 62 when he franchised KFC.
Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel. She was 63 years old.
And Harry Bernstein was 96 when he wrote his memoir about living with an alcoholic father (he went on to write two more books).
Here’s to all the firsts we’ll achieve in 2020. Stay curious, friends. The best is yet to come.
This article first appeared in the January 2020 issue of W42ST magazine.