On this, my last morning as a 42-year-old, I was awakened at 5:45 to the sun slashing through the curtain gap and the whoosh sound alerting me I had new email. I grabbed my iPad, tapped in my super high-secret password: ‘1111’ and started reading. In my just-woke-up haze, I didn’t recognize the name and saw the word ’sorry’ and then quickly put it together that it was a rejection letter for my novel from a very prominent manager based in NYC. It was the longest, most thorough, descriptive-with-suggestions, personal rejection letter I’ve ever received. I finished reading, wiped away my eye boogers and thought, well, shit, I guess I’ll have a cup of coffee. I did all the fun morning stuff of waking kids up and making lunches and feeding animals and driving to school and leashing up the dogs and heading out for a walk with my boyfriend Eckhart Tolle on my iPhone to wander the streets of Los Angeles where I’ve lived and been receiving rejection for almost 21 years.
Yeah, this ain’t my first rodeo.
For the most part, I do a lot of ‘not thinking’ on my walks. I trudge along and my mind succumbs to Eckhart’s cooing in my ear and the scents of jasmine, roses, citrus blossoms and poppies engaging my eyes and nose. But today, my mind wandered to birthdays. For my sixth birthday we had pony rides at my house. When I was twenty-one I got so legally hammered I tried to remove a toilet from its base and succeeded. When I was thirty I was nine-months pregnant and ate at the Cheesecake Factory with swollen ankles. At forty I partied in Las Vegas with my BFFs. Nice. Good times. As I loped along further, happily not getting pooped on by the birds overhead, my mind wandered back to this morning’s email and to the collective rejections I’ve tallied up over all these years, all these birthdays. As I sharpened my math addition skills I got excited thinking about how truly grateful I was for every birthday and for each and every rejection letter I ever received knowing so well that each one of them was a player in getting me to where I am now. And I’m kinda digging it. I'm enjoying the ride. I’m learning so much. I’m earning stripes.
So tomorrow when I blow those candles out and I make a wish it will be this: that when my time comes and I leave this planet that I do so with deeper, hard-earned laugh lines and fewer worry lines and so far I think I’m right on track!