I turned 44-years old on January 20th. I've heard, more times than I can count, people express astonishment when they find out that I passed the mid-thirty mark almost ten years ago. Actually, it's pretty funny to see the looks I get but I know in my bones - I'm not that young any more. The clock does have a say and there are some things in life that, once the time has passed, it's simply too late. That's just the human condition.
Be that as it may, age doesn't preclude firsts. My birthday week was bookended by a couple of personal firsts.
I got to go sledding for the first time during a long weekend with friends who live in the Wheaton area of Illinois. Unlike Texas, the residents of Illinois experience real winters. There was snow on the ground. Quite a bit, I thought. My friend Wendy, who hadn't been sledding in years, took the opportunity presented by my presence to reconnect with that aspect of her own inner child. Wendy's housemate, Jane, hadn't been sledding before either. Both Jane and I enjoyed the experience immensely, though I suspect Jane's little dog decided pretty quickly that one trip down the slopes while sitting on a plastic disc was more than enough.
I screamed and laughed like a little girl each time I went down the bunny slopes, which were within walking distance of Jane's and Wendy's house. I hope to go sledding again someday. The next time, though, I will wear boots that provide good traction.
The other first I experienced was leading the organic home church to which I belong in an evening's discussion and activity. I've never led anything. Really, I prefer to shun the spotlight. I get in a crowd of people and feel overwhelmed. I don't often say much when the group is gathered together as a whole. We can have anywhere from 15 to 30 people on any given weekend. I may join a conversation or two, and I can be quite opinionated if I'm passionate about something, but otherwise I'm shy and reserved.
The weekend I led the group there were, I believe, 23 people gathered together. That's twenty-something pairs of eyes looking at me while I directed the group toward the goal we hoped to accomplish that evening - a goal which had sprung from my heart. Have I mentioned that I'd rather shun the spotlight and hadn't ever led anything before? I had help that evening, co-leaders for whom I will always be grateful, but the bulk of leading that evening's discussion fell on my shoulders.
I struggled with thoughts of "oh crap, what have I gotten myself into?" and feelings of unease but I managed to put those aside and stay focused on what everyone needed from me. And it all turned out fine.
Recently I was told, "It's time." I am not quite sure what to do with that but I'm sure it includes more firsts for me.