I know I’m not competitive. Or very ambitious. So when I thought about what I want to accomplish in the next 11 months before turning 50, this is what I came up with:

  • Get a Hello Kitty tattoo- A really big one. On my left side. Between my hip and my breast. She’s holding a heart with my mother’s initials. GRS.
  • Travel to Italy with dad- This might sound like fun. It will not be. I promise all of you this. We will be in a small village in which if I am not with my dad at all times, I will be denied all cappuccinos, gelato, and any food really. Strangers are not allowed there.
  • Play black jack or poker at a casino- Not in Vegas. I did not like it there. The heat. The lights and late starts. I was in bed by 9pm every night. I want to go to an old school casino. With a buffet.
  • Skinny dipping in the Atlantic Ocean- This is not new to me. I’m older and not so skinny anymore. But I find it incredibly soothing.
  • Take a Girls trip- I believe this is very much an American thing. None of my Italian friends and family had ever heard of taking a girls trip. Still I want to take one.
  • Not spend thanksgiving in NJ- This is an epically long story. This will absolutely happen this year. I will not spend Thanksgiving in NJ.
  • Epic bike ride- 25 years ago this was 100 miles along the hills of southern Virginia. Now, I think 10 miles and ending at gelateria is good enough.
  • Take Italian lessons- My Italian is at like a 3rd grade level. I am proud to report I have started taking lessons on my iPhone .
  • Make a key lime pie- I want to make a really good pie. Brag about it. Then eat it.
  • See My cousin- We sound alike. We know all of the pain and sorrow and hopelessness we have both felt. I would like to tell her I want to be close again.
  • Record me and my dad talking when we are at his house in NJ- If you are reading this you probably don’t know my dad. Or me for that matter. But we have the most ridiculous and hilarious conversations about insurance. Politics. Food. Good cheap wine.

i am a first generation italian-american who grew up in southern new jersey. Life is amazingly beautiful and devastating. Sometimes in the same day.