“The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Your life is a running history of first times: your first day of school, the first time you stole a kiss, your first speech, your first serious relationship, your first car, your first job, your first trip abroad. Each of us has a surplus of first-time experiences. Regardless of how old you are, these “firsts” are filled with nervous anticipation, excitement, and even trepidation. They often push you outside your comfort zone. New experiences result in new learning, enabling you to attain a broader worldview.

Sensitizing Questions: These questions are designed to prime or stimulate your memories and thoughts about your life. The questions are not meant to be answered in a literal manner. Please read through them and react to the ones that open windows on your past. Each life is unique, and the priming questions do not have the same value to all persons.

  1. Describe one of your very first memories. Why is it significant?
  2. When you have a new experience, what emotions are involved? Are you nervous, excited or afraid? Do you try to avoid new experiences if possible?
  3. Some of us are more adventurous than others. Part of this results from how we were brought up. Did your family encourage you to try new things, or were they cautious?
  4. Sometimes firsts are connected with age, such as when you are granted your first driver’s license or when you are first allowed to drink or vote. Which of these age-related firsts stands out for you? What was your first solo drive like? When did you first taste alcohol? Where were you? What happened?
  5. As adolescents, we may fall in and out of love frequently. Who was your first love? How old were you? Describe what happened.
  6. Earning your own money is an important milestone. Describe your first paying job.
  7. What first experience will you always cherish, and why?
  8. If you are a woman and have had children, what was your first pregnancy like? What was it like to have your first child?
  9. Not all firsts are positive. What proved to be a negative first experience for you? What happened, and what did you learn?
  10. The more you experience something, the more competent you become. How does this concept impact your first experiences in general?

THE MAGIC OF G.A.B. is sharing your stories with others – only for supportive comments. It is not a writing critique class in any way. Write your stories and share stories with others who have written on the same theme. This theme was prepared by Shawn Feisst, a GAB instructor in Encinitas, California.

For help writing your memoirs, contact Patricia Hamilton, Park Place Publications, for a free consultation: publishingbiz@sbcglobal.net, (831) 649-6640.