“When was the last time you did something for the first time?”

by Aug 16, 20218 comments

Stepping out of your comfort zone

This month, I’m participating in a challenge to do a blog post daily.  The host offers daily optional prompts as writing ideas.  Today, he shared this: Ever get a song stuck in your head? Or do you have a favourite song lyric? How about a motto or creed that you live by (like, “Every Day Counts,” or “There are no failures, only lessons.”  

I haven’t been following most of the prompts but this one struck a chord (couldn’t resist). It immediately made me think of the song For the First Time, a catchy tune that often gets stuck in my head because the lyrics remind me to take action.

It isn’t necessarily the whole story that resonates with me but the chorus certainly does:

When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Yeah, let yourself go, follow that feeling
Maybe something new is what you’re needing
Like a real life, let your hair down, feel alive
When was the last time you did something for the first time?

Doing something for the first time

For more than 10 years, I did contract teaching in various locations, moving every year or two.  Since I was living in different communities, countries, and cultures I was doing something new almost every day – and I loved it.  I was always ready for a trip or change of experience

Then my experiences changed.  I began working for not-for-profit agencies in Atlantic Canada, got married, and settled into homeownership on Nova Scotia’s mainly rural Eastern Shore.  Life has become more routine from day to day and week to week — even year to year.  I’m quite content here.  I love my family, our home,  and our community.  I have wonderful friends and opportunities.  However, there are times when I feel that my life has become overly routine and I have the desire to shake things up at least a little.

I was in that frame of mind when I first heard ‘For the first time’ by Darius Rucker (if you are a fan of 90s music, you might know Darius as Hootie from Hootie and the Blowfish).  The radio happened to be tuned to a country station; my station of choice is almost always the CBC but this day, I had left it tuned to “Hot Country”.  I have always preferred listening to jazz and blues and it is only in the last 5 or so years that I have begun to appreciate country music.  Many of the artists are great storytellers and the songs often make me laugh with an expression or a turn of phrase.  Plus it is so much fun to sing along, probably the reason so many people seem to have country songs for their go-to karaoke choices.

That is how I found myself driving down the road, in a pick-up truck (having just picked up some lumber for deck project), with the windows open, singing along with great energy by the final chorus.  It was most definitely the first time for that particular combination of events for me.  I believe I was even speeding, thought my husband doubts that part actually happened.  I loved the reminder to stretch yourself with new things and the song has served as a reminder of that ever since.  Sometimes, I sing it to myself when I feel the need to change my routine.  Other times, I play it on YouTube and dance around to shake out the cobwebs because it always makes me feel happy.

Take the Challenge

Do something new every day.

Doing something for the first time doesn’t have to be a big thing.  You don’t have to strive every day for the extreme.  It might well be that some days you have the time, resources and opportunity for skydiving or river tubing or rappelling down a cliff.  Most days your new thing will be something less dramatic, even very small, like trying a new coffee flavour. 

Break your routine:   

  • Take a new route to work
  • Try a new art technique
  • Learn your first guitar chord
  • Get up early and start your day with mediation
  • Walk or bike to work instead of driving

For your, trying a new thing might be going to a big party or concert with a lot of people or alternately, sitting quietly alone or going for a hike in the woods.

What feels like a new step to you?  Something that is different from your usual response.

In the past, many of us in small towns or rural areas had much more limited access to things like concerts, classes or retreats.  That, of course, has changed with COVID safety restrictions leading to more flexibility and variety in online courses, lectures and entertainment options.  it makes it easier to find new things to learn or try, even from the comfort of your home.  Although I encourage you to expand your horizons and venture to new places too. But you don’t need to do it every day.

Tell your stories

Consider these question prompts.

When was the last time that YOU did something for the first time?

Do you have a song that sticks in your head and/or inspires you?  Or a favourite quote that you like?  What is it?  Why do you like it?

Featured image photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


  1. Keith Watson

    Loved the song and it has been added to my playlist. I will write about first time tomorrow on challenge. I have had a lot of first times. I have had to adapt to make some things work. Anyway, a great thing to write about – so I will give that all some thought this evening.

    What I was looking for in your blog website is a page just about you. I couldn’t work out for a while what country you live in etc. I am sure I wasn’t looking in the right place.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      I hope the song brings you much joy and inspiration. I look forward to reading your post about firsts.

      Thanks for the interest in my info. I’m building my site as part of this challenge and have updated a page with a bit about me and made it easier to find with a cleaner menu. I live on the Eastern Shore in Nova Scotia on Canada’s Atlantic coast. Where are you based?

  2. Lily Leung

    Love your post. I have a jukebox in my head. However, it hasn’t played for quite awhile. I did a year on Instagram on doing something new every day. I posted every day though I’m not sure if it was a new thing every day. It’s so easy to fall back into old things.

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Wow, Lily posting about something new everyday is quite an accomplishment. Even if you did have some duplicates. Congrats!

  3. Martha

    I love your thinking about doing something for the first time whether a big or small thing. I was going to write about a song that’s stuck in my head but lately it’s been “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” because Lia goes around singing that all day! LOL

    • Mary Elizabeth

      Some days I have to remind myself that small things new things are just as rewarding. “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” is definitely and earworm – but not one that offers much in the way of inspiration – most days anyway. Enjoy.

  4. Angel Lewis

    I love Darius. He’ll forever be Hootie for me. It feels like you were talking to me about falling into a routine. Most of my adult life has been an adventure. But the past few years, it has been a bit predictable. I don’t regret that as I’m helping raise my granddaughter and little ones need a schedule (well sort of).

    • Mary Elizabeth

      LOL I don’t really think of Darius in his Hootie period as it wasn’t music I listened to regularly, though I do enjoy it. I find that he has a soothing voice. I’m like you in that the adventures feel smaller now but hoping to add more new experiences on a regular basis.
      Have fun with your granddaughter.

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