Off the Mat Yoga Popular

Living a Life of Firsts

As a parent, we document all our babies first; first words, first steps, first tooth, first tooth loss, and so forth. At what point do we stop recognizing our life’s firsts? Do we even consider them anymore after college? I can recall my first car, my first kiss, my first boyfriend and even my first husband. But why is it that we don’t get as excited about our life’s firsts the older we get? We don’t mark our calendars or make albums out of these momentous occasions. Life doesn’t end when we start adulting. We should be celebrating life for as long as we live.

My big brother (Robin) passed away almost seven years ago. He was 39 years old and lived a life fuller than most people who live to 80. He was an adventurous, thrill seeker. His list of experiences ranged from wild boar hunting to jumping out of a helicopter in skis. You name it, he did it. So in honor of his life, I celebrate his birthday every year with an adventurous first. On his first birthday without him, his would-be 40th birthday, I jumped out of a perfectly good plane. Some people would call that skydiving. The years after that were: swimming with sharks, stingrays and dolphins, fired a semi-automatic rifle, zip lining, white water rafting in Bali, and flyboarding (that’s where you fly using water propulsion). This year’s birthday is coming up and I don’t have any plans yet for my adventure. Maybe I’ll go parasailing, ride in a helicopter, or ride along in a race car. All I know is that it will be a first time experience.

I jumped out of a plane today

The beautiful thing about starting this tradition is that it seeped into my everyday life. I am more spontaneous and adventurous. I take risks and say ‘yes’ more. And most importantly I found my rewarding journey, a path in which I may never have had the courage to start: yoga. Yoga has been this amazing adventure that no skydiving or hiking trip can ever quench. To me, it’s the greatest adventure of me versus myself. I’m a self-taught, home practicing yogi that dedicates her practice on a daily basis (well almost daily). I have learned more things about myself in the last 2 years than quite frankly I ever have. I’m taking risks, testing my limits, breaking down, and yet constantly wanting more. I started a 200-hour yoga teacher training program this year and I have to say I’m half loving it and half freaking out. It’s an adventure where I’m not risking my life to prove something, but instead honoring my life while I’m still here. I realize that yoga is my never ending journey of breakthroughs and firsts. I found my passion of firsts like my brother did as an adventurous, thrill seeker. Don’t worry, I’ll still have crazy adventures too!


I’m turning 40 this year, a year my brother never got to reach, but his legacy helped me find mine and I am forever grateful to him. I’m living a life full of firsts, sharing it with my beautiful family, and hopefully inspiring you. Oscar Wilde says it best: “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Are you just existing? I say to you and my three boys: You will be remembered not by what you owned, but by how you lived your life. So fill your life up with experiences and firsts, not things. Your experiences are what make you richer. When I think of my brother, I am so proud of the life he lived. So don’t forget while you are adulting to live a life worth living.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?
What first time activity do you think I should try next?


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  1. Megan Reddix

    Megan Reddix

    June 21, 2016 at 9:04 am

    This is so inspiring! I love that you have dedicated a day of adventure to your brother every year on his birthday. That is so meaningful! I try not to forget firsts. I make things hyper important, sometimes. We took a hike on a small mountain down the road from our home? I made a photo album of that. I do that with all the little things we do. If we have a bbq, just me and my husband, I still take a bunch of photos and put together a little album. Those memories are ones that I want to last forever! Even if other people think they’re small, to me, all those little moments have huge significance!

    1. Nancy

      Nancy "Sol" Azoulay

      June 22, 2016 at 9:13 am

      Thanks Megan! And yes, it’s all about the little things too. To firsts and little things!

  2. Amanda


    June 21, 2016 at 9:33 am

    This is so fantastic. What an amazing way to honor your brother and enrich your life. I was recently talking with my sister about how it’s like there are no milestones left for me as someone in a long term relationship with no plans to marry or have children! But you’re right; it doesn’t have to be that way. I love trying new things and I do it often, so I just need to look at them as the milestones they are, even if they’re not celebrated on the traditional lifetime scale of milestones. 🙂 I did go rappelling down a waterfall last year….that’s about as brave as I’ve gotten in terms of those types of things. We’ll see if I can work up to skydiving. 🙂

    1. Nancy

      Nancy "Sol" Azoulay

      June 30, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      So rappelling down a waterfall sounds amazing! I’ll add that one to my list. Where was that by the way? 🙂 Milestones are what you make of them, not what society has pressured us to think. Make your own milestones with your partner or even with just yourself. Skydiving sounds like a great first 🙂

      1. Amanda


        June 30, 2016 at 4:47 pm

        It was intense for me! I don’t think of myself as afraid of heights until I get up there. 😉 It was near Jardin, Colombia.

  3. Avatar


    June 25, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    I highly recommend bungee jumping if you haven’t already!! It was an incredibly freeing experience for me. Almost as life-giving as yoga :p

    I love your perspective on adulthood. A part of me fears marriage, having children, and a stable career path because they have always, in my young mind, represented the cessation of newness and excitement. I’m trying to keep an open mind though and avoid unjustly labelling them as ‘limiting’. This was an encouraging post and I appreciate your outlook on life 🙂

    1. Nancy

      Nancy "Sol" Azoulay

      June 30, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Brooklyn!
      So can you believe I’m afraid of doing the bungee jumping idea? It seems so herky jerky to the neck and spine. But I totally get the freeing experience, I had the same with my skydiving adventure. I’m glad you found this post encouraging and hope you don’t limit yourself to new adventures in life. Adventures don’t have to be extreme, they can be as simple as trying new foods or visiting a new place. Thanks for your post! Hope you have a great day 🙂

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    Wendi Epps

    August 30, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    I love firsts! Even at 37 years old, I still strive to have firsts and celebrate when I do. I often wonder if other people feel that same thrill of treading on new territory, and it’s inspiring to read about the gift your brother gave you. I’ve always felt that adventure is one of the most important things in life! Cheers to experiencing!!

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