In a few days, I’ll be turning the big 3-4. Another year I’ve spent on this planet in which the sun has rotated around the earth.

So what?

I’m a firm believer that one is only as old as one feels. For some reason or another, I’ve noticed others think years have to be defined by what they are “supposed” to be doing. You’ve all heard the expressions, “I’m too old for this…” “I shouldn’t be doing that at my age…” “If I was younger…” But hell, why does age matter so much?

Okay, biologically speaking, sure, women can only have kids for so long. But besides that, why can’t one start a career at any age, get married at any age, act immature at any age, or live their dream at any age?

Well, I think you can. Maturity does not come with age, it comes with wisdom. One could argue some ten-year olds are smarter than some fifty-year olds. Just take a look at our Congress. But I digress…

A couple of days ago, I was talking to my sister on the phone and my birthday came up and I shared with her something I do on my birthday, which I’ve never told anyone. Not that it’s some big secret but it’s just never came up in a conversation before. See, several years back, I decided to write myself a note every birthday and then on the following birthday, I open it and read it. It helps me see how far I’ve come, how far I didn’t go and what has changed or not changed about me. It’s quite interesting, actually, especially if you’re of the observe-human-nature type. And this got me thinking when I said it out loud to her…

Age is a great measurement of our time on this earth. Other than that, though, I could care less about it.

Think about it. You think of your age and you can place yourself in a specific time. For example, in 1987, I was ten years old so that means I was entering the fifth grade, had just moved to California from New York and had decided I wanted to be in a play and learn drama.

And this whole story leads me to this blog. I’ve decided to list thirty-four lessons learned, one for every year of my life, every rotation around the sun I’ve lived through, because instead of some number, it’s the experiences that matter most to me and it’s the lessons I learn that help me live a fuller life, which to me is what gives my life meaning. So here goes!

(Quick note – From 0-5, I’m going to theorize…)

YEAR 1 – My mother is an amazing and wonderful woman. (Based on being told that I would hardly go with anyone but her, and I still feel this way.)

YEAR 2 – I like to learn. (Based on being told I started Preschool early.)

YEAR 3 – I can do anything a boy can do. (Based on memories of always wanting to do exactly what my older brother did.)

YEAR 4 – Weather is important. (Based on memories of enjoying jumping in the leaves, playing in the snow, getting to wear shorts after so long, and staying out late at night to play.)

YEAR 5 – The world is larger than I thought. (Based on a memory I have of sitting on a bus for kindergarten orientation.)

YEAR 6 – Religion is a part of life. (Based on memories of first grade at a private, Catholic school where nuns were our teachers and our coloring sheets were about God and Jesus.)

YEAR 7 – Friendship is wonderful. (Based on memories of my neighbor and first best friend, Liz, who I adored playing with.)

YEAR 8 – Learning can be fun. (Based on memories of my third grade teacher, who made math enjoyable with a game she posted all over the back wall.)

YEAR 9 – Boys are cute and I like them in a different way than I like girls. (Based on memories of certain boys.)

YEAR 10 – Life is hard. (Moved away from my childhood town of Buffalo, NY, and left behind my best friend. Also, started a new school in Los Angeles.)

YEAR 11 – I want to be in the entertainment business. (Got my parents to get me headshots and take me to auditions and such.)

YEAR 12 – Life is really hard. (Started another new school, for seventh grade, and didn’t really fit in. Tried out for the play and didn’t get a role. Began acting really weird.)

YEAR 13 – I really want to be in the entertainment business. (Got an agent, went out on auditions, took acting classes, started writing.)

YEAR 14 – I’m not like everyone else and have a hard time fitting in. (Started another new school for ninth grade and once again, didn’t really fit in. Drifted from the close friend I made the previous year but did form a friendship with a new girl I got along with rather well. Fought with my parents. Lied a lot.)

YEAR 15 – Experimentation can be both good and bad. (Not getting specific on this one here.)

YEAR 16 – I love to drive. (Period.)

YEAR 17 – Independence is important to me. (I looked for a college away from home… but not too far away. Decided on San Diego State. Couldn’t wait to get away and live on my own, though I was fully supported by my parents.)

YEAR 18 – Relationships with men can be both destructive and wonderful. (Got out of a dysfunctional relationship I had in high school and entered into a relationship with an awesome guy I met in my dorm.)

YEAR 19 – Partying too much is a bad thing. (Got on academic probation, for the second time.)

YEAR 20 – Friendships are truly important and can teach you a lot about yourself. (After deciding (more so subconsciously than otherwise) that I didn’t need close friends after I left NY and  having been a bad friend throughout the previous years, I finally started to realize close friendships are extremely important.)

YEAR 21 – I want a relationship with my little sister. (After talking to her one night on the phone and learning she was sad and was having eating issues, I realized I hadn’t been there as much as I could have been and have tried to always be there for her since that moment.)

YEAR 22 – I can be okay on my own, without a boyfriend. (Having had a boyfriend in high school from sophomore year to entering college and then immediately getting into another relationship with a great guy for the next four years, I hadn’t really been “on my own.” Knowing I cared more about this person as a friend than a boyfriend, I gathered the courage to break up with him and with the exception of dating people for up to five months or so, I haven’t had a serious relationship since.)

YEAR 23 – Life is hard and tough decisions are needed to be made. (Graduating from college was rough for me. I loved taking classes and loved living in San Diego but knowing I wanted to make films, I knew I had to leave and head back to LA, which I did, but it wasn’t easy.)

YEAR 24 – A job and money are very important.

YEAR 25 – I want to work in the entertainment industry and I like living alone. (I quit waiting tables and worked as an intern at a production company, an assistant for producer Scott Rudin, a receptionist for a post production firm and a set PA. Also, I moved into a studio after having either lived with my parents or roommates and then lived alone for the next seven years.)

YEAR 26 – My father is an amazing man. (After having a bumpy relationship with my father because we butted heads on a lot of things, I began to see him for the amazing man that he is.)

YEAR 27 – Life is about the choices we make for ourselves, especially in the situations we face due to our own making and to no fault of our own. (I was unhappy working as an assistant editor so I quit my job where I was assisting on the latest round of “American Idol”, went back to waiting tables and started to write my first short film. Family became much more important to me as “partying” became less important.)

YEAR 28 – Change is good. (I directed my first short film. I quit smoking cigarettes. I became a better friend. I valued my parents more. I began to mend my relationship with my older brother.)

YEAR 29 – Not only do I want to work in the entertainment industry, but I will continue to live my life as a filmmaker, making the necessary sacrifices because this is what I want to do, what will make me happiest and life is too short not to go after my dreams. (Got into my first film festival with my first short film, began working freelance for Imagine Entertainment as a reader and I still do this to this day, found a serving job I liked that allowed me to work a few lunch shifts a week and started cutting out negativity from external forces I had allowed in my life.)

YEAR 30 – Failure is okay as long as I learn from it. (My second short film didn’t get onto the festival circuit. I was depressed but decided, okay, I’ll keep moving on. I studied what went wrong there and then made my third short, which played on the ’08 fest circuit and gave me my first Los Angeles screening.)

YEAR 31 – Reality is truth, but I can take that reality and mold it through my own actions and mind. (Realized if I wanted to be a filmmaker, sacrifices were going to have to be made. So I made them.)

YEAR 32 – I am capable of love. (My nephew was born and I experienced true, honest and unconditional love for the first time. I would take a bullet for him.)

YEAR 33 – Living one’s dreams makes them reality. (I shot my fifth short film and am prepping it to submit it for the 2012 festival circuit. My last film is being sold on Amazon, my blog is building a readership and my films are building a fan base, albeit small but hey, it’s a beginning.)

YEAR 34 – ???


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