First love is dangerous only when it is also the last. – Branislav Nusic
My first love recently found me on Facebook. When I saw her friend request I left the present and went back to 1979. 30 years ago, I was a junior in high school driving my ’69 Volkswagen Beatle while listening to the Bee Gees on the AM-only band radio and not realizing the power love would have in my life.
It also never occurred to me there would come a day when I would be in my mid 40s forgetting what it was like to be young. At 16-years-old, there was a whole life in front of me and with no need to rush.
Like most, when I was a child I had several childhood crushes. I had crushes on a few teachers, girls I saw on television, and I had a huge crush on a young lady in Kindergarten named Sonya who always wore plaid jumpers. These crushes eventually lead me to my first intimate relationship and to my first love.
It was in this relationship when I first considered what it would be like to share a life with someone else and what I wanted from love. It was an awakening, an awareness, that I was worthy to give and receive love unconditionally. I experienced my first love almost a lifetime ago, but the lessons learned are still with me today.
The power of first love
Before falling in love, I didn’t realize I get to choose who to love. We can naturally love our parents and siblings without even thinking about it. The power of our first romantic love extends our view of the world and provides the awareness we are free to experience the pleasure of love and not just the presence of love.
When we become teenagers, the separation from our family of origin begins to widen and our focus is turned inside-out. The temptation of a world we can now reach in our cars and, once we get there, enjoy the touch and kiss of another becomes too great to resist.
The power of first love tells us we are becoming adults. We now have the right equipment to love another person, even though we may have skipped over a few important pages from the user’s manual. Nevertheless, we fall into love fast and we can fall very hard. The power of first love is never repeated in subsequent relationships; nor should it be.
I guess in a perfect world, we would wake up and find ourselves in our second relationship, but we would miss out on an experience filled with so much euphoria that our appetite to want to be in love and experience the joy it can bring might be diminished to the point it could keep us from ever sharing our hearts in the first place.
The power of our actions
Falling in love for the first time showed me the power my actions can have. It was in the spring of 1979 when my girlfriend and I found ourselves in love and committed to one another exclusively.
Months of passing notes in class, flirting and finding the courage to act on an exciting curiosity lead to our first date and to the awareness our feelings ran deep. It was this way throughout the rest of the spring and into the summer.
During the summer of 1979 I worked as a lifeguard. When school started later in the fall, I noticed other girls were interested in me, too. I felt confident with my lifeguard’s tan and broad-shouldered build that I initiated the break-up to make myself available for those interests.
Without warning and without good cause, I abruptly ended the relationship. It never occurred to me the pain my actions would cause. When I asked for forgiveness and reconciliation, it was not granted.
At that moment, now as a 17-year-old, my awareness of life and love shifted from a selfish mindset to one that showed me the power my actions have to bring happiness and sadness alike into the life of another. The world was no longer all about me – my actions affected the lives of others.
My first love created the force necessary for the final push. My fall from adolescence was now complete. I had become an adult whether I was ready or not.
The power of passion and intensity
The emotions experienced in first love can be very intense. Most free time is spent together and those seemingly endless moments turn into long, passionate kisses when it’s time to say goodbye. After the final kiss is over and both find themselves alone, the phone will ring when one cannot stand time away from the other any longer.
First love tells us the type of partner we want and it demonstrates the kind of partner we can be. First love also teaches us the value of passion and how it can be used to provide the inspiration to live passionately and with great faith in the other parts of our life.
Our hearts come alive with our newfound ability to share what’s inside. Before we fall in love for the first time, our hearts beat to the familiar. We may love those in our life, but we haven’t quite recognized the enormous amount of hope we have to find someone special; someone just for us and with whom we can make a heart connection.
It’s take courage to hold your heart in the palm of your hand while someone else takes your fingers and, one-by-one, peels them back to reveal the gift that is waiting. Sometimes the gift is cherished and sometimes it is not. Either way, we learn to surrender to passion because of the promise of what it can deliver.
I accepted her friend request and thought for a moment about what type of comment I should write. The first thing that came to mind was to ask, once again, for some forgiveness. She provided that in her reply. Time may not cause us to forget, but it does provide some space for some healing.
After exchanging a few more messages which attempted to cover the past 30 years, I logged out and went on with my day although the feelings that were churned up stayed with me.
Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten that teenager who had a whole life in front of him. Like most 16-year-olds, I felt invincible and incapable of aging. The world was mine to shape into anything I wanted it to be. Dreams of medical school and experiencing fantastic adventures filled my mind with great anticipation. And then, I found love and someone who made my heart beat differently than it had ever had before.
Falling in love for the first time didn’t cause me to stop dreaming. Just the opposite. My first love helped me to realize a life with meaning is intended to be enjoyed together. We have the ability to accomplish whatever we set our minds to achieving, but having someone to share our life with makes all the difference.
My first love taught me the lessons of passion and the power my actions can have on another. It taught me I was worthy to be loved unconditionally. My first love prepared me to be a better lover next time.
My 46-year-old heart now knows the power of love and hope. There is still plenty of life left in front of me and there is no need to rush. I learned these things from my first love.