Facing 40: Greatest Hits of A Life Well Lived


In honor of turning 40, I decided to stroll down memory lane and celebrate 40 of my Greatest Hits...

I'd like to tell you that the Rubik's Cube turns 40 this year. I'd like to tell you that Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary this year. I'd like to tell you that Drew Barrymore, Free to Be You & Me, Star Wars and I were all born in the same year, all turning 40 in 2011.

But it's just not true. Those toys, video game icons, and pop-culture references are from my youth, but the conscious years, not the zygote years.

Having said that, there ARE some cool things/people turning 40 this year, right along with me. John Lennon's song Imagine. Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry. And my girl Mary J Blige hits the big 4-0 right alongside me this year.

In honor of facing 40 on Sunday, I decided to stroll down memory lane and celebrate 40 of my Greatest Hits (and a few Misses) of my life in progress, lived out loud...

1. At age 6, scoring a Barbie dream house (the one with the pink elevator) for Christmas, one of many fave memories from a childhood filled with Barbie

2. At age 7, watching the movie Grease in the theater with my mom, and as the end credits rolled, hearing her say, "In real life, he'd change for her."

3. Following my globetrotting parents around the world, living on three continents (North America, Australia, Asia) before I was 10

4. Begging my parents for a ventriloquist doll named Lester for Christmas, unwrapping him with glee, and insisting on entertaining my parents friends (and bosses!) with a comedy set that always started with, "OK, Joke Time!"

5. At age 12, mistaking a moat for a puddle during a Sri Lankan downpour (stepping in, plummeting, and resurfacing to the shock and awe of onlookers)

6. At 15, falling in love with Rebel, a creative, fun loving, new waver who had a girlfriend, told me he loved me more, and set the scene for a decade of me chasing emotionally unavailable men who didn't love me back

7. After high school graduation, getting schooled on how to drink beer (and getting drunk for the first time) with Bad Influence, my high school buddy (His tip: Always drink a root beer first so your burps taste good)

8. Binge drinking root beer (and then some) for four years straight at college

9. At 22, falling in love and moving in with Trouble, a.k.a. a 37-year-old bodybuilder with a checkered past

10. At 23, barely escaping Trouble with my life

11. At 29, landing my dream job where I got to write about Barbie all day long

12. After a safe and predictable three-year relationship with Mr. Vanilla, loudly and proudly proclaiming while watching the movie The Tao of Steve, "I want to meet someone who'll ROCK my world!"

13. Enter Mr. Rocky Road, a.k.a. the first man to make me feel seen, heard, loved, and adored (when we weren't embroiled in a codependent nightmare, that is!)

14. Watching all my friends get married, have babies, and settle down, desperately wishing Mr. Rocky Road could get his act together and morph into The One

15. Breaking up, making up, & breaking down for six months straight during my Big Breakup with Mr. Rocky Road

16. Running off to Greece following my Big Breakup: Sunbathing topless for the first time, hiking a 17 km gorge with a gorgeous Air Force officer, and coming home alive, hell bent on proving to my dad I wasn't foolish, crazy, or wrong for going alone

17. After 4 1/2 years, breaking up the Barbie, quitting my job, & not having a plan

18. Launching my first website BreakupChronicles.com one week after leaving my job

19. Renting out my condo, putting my stuff in storage, and escaping to the Montana wilderness for a month to "figure things out"

20. Scoring my first piece of press, a front-page feature in my hometown newspaper (Miss: Hiding all day when the paper hit stands, afraid to own it and celebrate it)

21. Coming back to LA, sleeping on a blowup mattress on my best friend's living room floor, and feeling happy for the first time in a long time

22. Falling in love with myself, my life, and becoming a man magnet

23. Meeting my future husband at a bar, thinking he was 20-years-old and gay, bonding over a shared love of David Sedaris and Pink Martini

24. Recognizing on date #2 that my future husband could be The One (he'd just finished telling me, "I'm too nice for the naughty girls and too naughty for the nice ones." Disco!

25. Telling my future husband on that same second date that I never wanted to get married or have babies

26. Getting my first book deal

27. Becoming a best-selling author (Miss: Coming home from my book tour and realizing I was a broke best-selling author)

28. Getting the call from my publicist that the Today Show wanted me on to talk about my first book IF: I came to New York the following week and shot B roll of one woman getting a post-breakup makeover and another woman having a Movin' On party. The catch: I had to set it all up (Not having been in New York since college and not knowing anyone in the city, I said yes, and within a week had everything I needed for 2 kick ass segments!)

29. Realizing I really can do anything I set my mind to (Priceless, Mastercard!)

30. After years of being an excessive Sex and the City fan, spending one hour chatting with Candace Bushnell about the REAL Mr. Big

31. Handing my future husband my grandmother's wedding ring and saying, "Give it back when you're ready." (Miss: Getting mad that it took him another six months to propose!)

32. Three years ago, donning a red gown, walking down the aisle to Etta James' "At Last", & promising to love my husband forever (The EASIEST thing I'll ever do)

33. Spending a month in Paris on our honeymoon, watching Obama get elected, and celebrating hope around the world

34. Inspiring my sister to believe in love for the first time in 10 years and find HER Mr. Right

35. Writing 4 more books while building a profitable consulting business I LOVE

36. Loving (and eventually losing) my first pet, my cat Maya

37. Crying when I found out that my beautiful, smart, 18-year-old sister-in-law was pregnant

38. Being my 19-year-old sister-in-law's birth coach, eventually helping her through a C-section after 19 frustrating hours of labor, and being the first family member to hold my niece

39. Leaving the hospital, realizing for the first time that my niece wasn't coming home with ME

40. Having made peace with my childhood, being compassionate for my 20 something wild child, and appreciating the wisdom and experience of my 30s, looking forward to my 40s with a mix of curiosity, possibility, and excitement

What about you? What are some of YOUR hits and misses from YOUR life in progress?