Beating Fear with a Stick, Birthday

Bucket List

December 3, 2011

I know.

Bucket List sounds like that movie. The one a few years ago with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman that you probably saw on an airplane. And it has connotations of dying.

But that’s not what I am talking about here.

At least not for me.

This post is a LIFE LETTER. A LIFE LIST. A I-am-living-this-year-and-every-year-as-if-it-is-my-last-list.

My father died at 38 years old when I was 8.

It sucked. It sill sucks. Still makes me sad but I manage to get through it by writing and laughing and teaching and doing yoga and letting myself experience what I need to daily without judgement.

Naturally, even though it was on a subconscious level,  I assumed people died at 38. I don’t think I was aware I even had this belief. But, on a cellular level, somewhere deep in the most Jennifer parts of Jennifer, I simply vanished after 37 years of age. In my imagination. I could not, for the “life” of me, visualize a future for myself.

It gave me anxiety to think about.

I have never been much of a planner. This will come as a surprise to those that know me these days, as every day is booked and I have to plan out even a year in advance for most things. I definitely didn’t get delivered from the Stork in this fashion.

Planning scared the bejesus out of me especially when it came to the future. My future.

When we are children our world revolves around us little people. It should be that way. When my father died, on some level I thought it was my fault. I was 8. It’s what we do. Just as some kids think it is their fault when their parents divorce. It’s common. It’s expected when you’re a young whippersnapper to be the center of the Universe. You are.

It’s also common to form your inherent beliefs of yourself and the world at that young age. This is fine and good, except when it isn’t.

Case in point: your father dies at age 38 and you assume that is when life ends in general.

And here I am, Dear Manifesters, about to turn 37. I’ve made it pretty far, I’d say.

So this year, the year between 37 and 38 is to be filled with life. Since my father’s life ended at 38, I am going to enter my 38th year with the most BAM and the most LIFE.

Here is my letter.

Dear Age 37,

I am very excited to meet you! I can hardly wait.

I didn’t think I would be. For a long time, up until recently even, I would lie about my age. Mainly because I was an actor, and well, that is what actors do. But I think I also lied because I was scared about getting older. My dad never got to get older, so I falsely assumed that was to be my lot in life too.

Things have changed for me in the last few years and somewhere along the way I have lost that fear. My life has gotten better and better, and in fact, you couldn’t pay me enough to go back to my 20’s. Not that you offered. I’m just saying. I am happy here. Now.

This next year will be very powerful and I just wanted to let you know I am glad you are here. I already love you very much. 

We are going to travel around the world together. We are writing a book. We are going on Good Morning America. We are teaching workshops all over the world. We are laughing more than we ever thought possible. We are thinking about having a baby soon. We will probably wait until 38 gets there though. So don’t go starting any rumors.

I know your cousins “Ages 17-31” don’t think I liked them very much because of the way I treated them. I doubt you will ever see them again, but if you do, could you apologize for me? I don’t want to go back and tell them myself, but I truly am sorry I didn’t appreciate them as I appreciate you.

You Dear 37, look so much better than I imagined you to look. I am really proud of you.

Anyway, we have 10 days until you arrive but i just wanted you to know that you are very welcome in these parts.

Oh, and one last thing. Buckle your seatbelt. It’s going to be one helluva ride! See you on December 12th!

Love, me xo 

So my “Bucket List” isn’t a list of things I will do before I kick the bucket. It is a list of things I do before I turn 38 when my dad passed and I mistakenly assumed, as child, that life ended. I am living this year as a testament to my father. As a loving memory and a G-damn party in his honor. He may not have gotten past 38 but I am making it up for him. Daily.

Watch out world.

PS, All I want for my birthday is for you to buy a Manifestation t-shirt. All money is going to charity! I am committed to finding a cure for Prader Willi Syndrome and Tay Sachs. Here is the link. Help me have a happy birthday by giving back. 


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  • Reply James Vincent Knowles December 3, 2011 at 7:17 am

    OMG-!!! Have you told your husband~!!??!!!

    • Reply ManifestYogaJen December 3, 2011 at 7:20 am

      you are so silly xoox

      • Reply Jim Knowles December 3, 2011 at 10:19 am

        sometimes silly is called for out of the ether by the spirits of love. can you dig it?

  • Reply Dottie Wagner December 3, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Hi. I discovered your blog through Amy Esacove, here in Austin. I have really enjoyed reading it! I love this entry, particularly because it made me wonder some new things about my mom. When my mom was 16, her mother died and at 25, her dad died. You have opened my mind to some new questions I want to ask her about life without her parents, and how it felt approaching the ages at which they died. She is now 75 and well beyond those ages. So, thanks! I love that you are conscious of this issue for yourself and are really living through it. Beautiful. Oh, and do have a baby. It is the most incredible, mind blowing experience possible!!

  • Reply barbarapotter December 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Jen this is powerful and I love it. It makes me so happy to see that smiling 37 moving forward and enjoying life. Your dad would be very proud of you. Love you Mom.

  • Reply Amy Esacove December 3, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    SO beautiful Jen. For a while I thought I was going to die at 38. I don’t know why but for several years I was convinced. Well, I was wrong because I am about to be 40 🙂 Weee! Anyway, onward and upward into 37! And tell hubby to buckle his bootstraps! 😉

  • Reply Sabrina at MyMiBoSo December 4, 2011 at 1:19 am

    Amen to not re-living my 20s either – so much angst! Here’s to the good life, my friend!

  • Reply CGL Warrior December 6, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Yes yes yes! I am so excited to have met you and known you as this beautiful archangel of friendships. Cheers to the best birthday ever and I will be there to celebrate now and forever! Love you my soul sister!

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