For the first time

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

Not long ago, this question popped up all over the internet. People woke up to realise how meaningless their everyday routines are. And all of a sudden, they were talking about making significant lifestyle changes that you would associate with the madness of new year’s resolutions.

People quit their jobs. They took to hiking, to jogging, to exercising, and some even considered bungee jumping for crying out loud.

Despite the varying degree of madness, everyone who’d boarded the bandwagon had one thing in common: they wanted to come out of their comfort zone.

That’s commendable.

It’s just too easy to snuggle up in a comfortable place, listening to comforting words and eating mac and cheese—even more so when Winter’s just around the corner.

It was one of those days—cold and cloudy, not a ray of sunshine to dry out the dewy grasses. I woke up to 7 degrees Celsius (44 Fahrenheit), and for the first time in my life, it didn’t go over 9 degrees Celsius all day. Taken by surprise and shaking with shock, I sat in the corner of my room with my blanket wrapped around my shoulders like my mother’s arms. Though I’d closed the window and the wind whistled way out of my reach, I still sensed the biting cold just waiting for me beyond the comfort of my room.

I didn’t want to go out. It was a Wednesday afternoon, and all I wanted to do was lock myself in my room until winter past.

In my defence, I relocated to Australia only a month ago. It’s my first experience with Autumn and the fast-approaching Winter. But after sitting in my corner all morning, and watching the final episode of House of Cards, I realised I was a coward. I work from home, which is convenient, but that also means I could use it as an excuse for not stepping out.

Within five minutes, before I could change my mind, I was in the shower. I would go out for a walk and face the falling temperatures. So what if it’s cold, I told myself—let’s get used to it.

And so I went.

Walking along Lake Ginninderra in Canberra, Australia
Walking along Lake Ginninderra in Canberra, Australia

I was a little cautious—wearing my beanie to prevent the cold from whispering in my ear or coming down on my forehead. But from the moment I decided to get out, I felt the temperature within me change—from feeling cold and scared, I felt a warmth spread through me that had nothing to do with the weather outside. And as I walked down the street, flanked by trees in their Fall prime, I felt the breeze kissing my face. It stung a bit, yes. But after a while, I started enjoying it. It didn’t hurt anymore, but felt rather welcoming. My nose was running—I was breathing fresh air like never before. The leaves rustled all around me, the cockatoos sang in approval as I strode past their homes, and even a couple of other people crazy enough to wander the same path smiled as we crossed each other.

By the time I returned, I felt so alive. And cold, yes. I did make myself some hot tea before curling under the blanket, but it was still an achievement in my book.

Doing something for the first time doesn’t have to be a drastic and dramatic adventure. It could be a simple everyday situation where we explore the uncomfortable. And for me, it was challenging myself not to fear this beautiful time of the year.

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