Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A look back at 40 years...

How is it to turn 40? GREAT! In doing so I realized my life up to this point has been one hell of a good time! I am blessed. To me, each day of life begins with a choice. I can choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood. I can choose to make the most of every day or choose to do nothing. It won’t surprise you that I wake up every day choosing to make the most of my day and to be in a good mood. Of course that mood can change depending on others. Anyway, here is my life summed up in 40 (make that 66) things that have brought me laughter, joy, tears, heartache, and perspective.

1) I was born into a great family. Think “Leave it to Beaver” upbringing. I am blessed to have the parents I have, and I am blessed to have the brother and sister that I have. Oh, and sister in-laws and brother in-laws.
2) My father put me on skis at 4 years old and I thank him for that.
3) I made very good friends in high school and we have enough memories about “Hoosier Cannonball” and The Jock Block to laugh about for years.
4) I was fortunate to be able to attend college out of state at Colorado State University.
5) I skied. A lot.
6) I am a triple legacy member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.
7) I served in student government as a Senator for the College of Business, VP of the Business College Council (thanks Laurie Hammond), and as chairman of the Lory Student Center (plus countless committees).
8) I helped save beer sales at CSU football games! One of my proudest accomplishments! Thanks Meyer!
9) I traveled throughout Europe for a month in college and have everlasting memories. Thanks Dawny! Thanks Meyer! Thanks Newman! Bada Boom! Bada Bing!
10) I graduated with great friends and I miss them every day. I am grateful to have experienced college with them. Thanks Hammond, Murph, Karter, Ressler, Meyer, Newman, Galloway, Maurer, Webb, Johnson, Perkins, Gold, Jamie S.,…I can go on
11) I started in the wine business. Hated it.
12) I ended up in the car business. Love it! Toyota, Porsche, AutoNation, and Subaru.
13) I am blessed to have so many friends from my career. Friends that have stood by me through my toughest moments and my proudest moments. Thank you Travis, Patrick J., Grimey, Sanchez, Zamora, and Johnny M.
14) My heart has been broken and I have broken hearts. I am sorry. You know who you are.
15) I have driven a Porsche 164 MPH on the autobahn.
16) I have ridden in a Carrera GT with Hurley Haywood as we hit 200 mph on a track in Michigan! I have driven that same car. It costs $440,000.
17) I have met Malcolm Forbes.
18) I have met Jimmy Carter on a ski slope (even had Rosalyn take our picture, which is a funny story).
19) I have played craps with John Cusack for 2 straight nights. I am in America’s Sweethearts, which is a terrible movie.
20) I have met John Madden and Barry Switzer.
21) I have met Emmitt Smith twice and dined next to him and Bruce Smith in VA Beach, buying them a bottle of wine.
22) I sat next to Tim Robbins on an airplane.
23) I said hello to Demi Moore in a CVS in Scottsdale, AZ.
24) I sat next to Bill Medley (Righteous Brothers) on an airplane (autograph on a bottle of Cristal)
25) I am a Buckeye!
26) I spent many a football Saturday sitting in Ohio Stadium next to the legendary Bill Willis (autograph)
27) I’ve met Jack Tatum, Chris Carter, Pepper Johnson, Chris Spielman (autographs)
28) I’ve met Jim Tressel and Archie Griffin and had them sign my Buckeye helmet.
29) I’ve met Gordon Gee (autograph)
30) I’ve met Dick Vitale (autograph)
31) I’ve have a pair of Karl Malone’s shoes (autographed)
32) I’ve met Bart Starr (autograph)
33) I’ve met Fran Tarkenton (autograph)
34) I’ve met Eddie George at an airport (picture)
35) I’ve met John Elway (autograph)
36) I’ve met Jerry Rice (picture)
37) I’ve met Howie Long (autograph)
38) I’ve met Michael Schumacher (driver for Ferrari in F1. Picture)
39) I’ve met Tony Dorsett (autographed helmet)
40) I sat 4 rows behind the Bulls bench during the Bulls/Jazz NBA finals during the Jordan era. Saw Scottie Pippen puke on Phil Jackson's shoes.
41) I have a piece of a goal post that we tore down at CSU when we went to the Holiday Bowl. It is autographed by Earle Bruce. Yep, he coached at CSU after OSU.
42) I went to the Ohio State/meechigan game when they were ranked #1 & #2 in 2006.
43) Megan and I met Rupert and Biff from the Letterman show where we sat front row.
44) Meg and I met Tony Danza.
45) I sang Little Pink Houses on stage in CA with a cover band.
46) I have partied with Mormons. News flash: They actually can party with the best of ‘em.
47) I have hiked a 14’er, floated a river, and bungee jumped several times.
48) I met my wife in Chicago in 2002.
49) We married in 2003 & I have terrific in-laws!
50) We got a yellow lab in 2003 and named him Batman. Why not?
51) I have shared the crust of my toast with Batman EVERY morning for the last 6 years.
52) Megs and I have been to Maui, Aruba, the White House, countless concerts and sporting events, and we have skied some of the best slopes in the country in our brief 6 years.
53) We went to the NLCS in 2007, the NLCS in 2008 and 2009.
54) I took her sky diving for our anniversary. I know….very romantic.
55) We went to the World Series in 2008 and 2009! GO PHILLIES!
56) Megan and I met Robert Duvall and posed for several pictures with him. Thanks Katie Snyder! I presented a trophy to a jockey with Robert Duvall.
57) I am OK with the fact that my bride is in love with Dave Mathews.
58) We have experienced infertility and I have given Megan unromantic shots in her ass in gas station parking lots in hopes for a baby.
59) We have experienced deep heartache and loss.
60) We have experienced great joy with success of IVF and the birth of our daugter Finnley Piper Ritter.
61) We are blessed to have a family that adores Finnley. Our families are very generous and we appreciate that so very much!
62) We are blessed to have wonderful friends to share Finnley with. Thanks Karen and Dave.
63) We have made wonderful friends in Chicago, Cleveland, Virginia, Colorado, and now South Jersey/Philly. Thanks for your friendship and great times Kelly, Jason, Canella, Kate & Dave, Bill & Jen, Eric & Serena, Kristal, Kitten & Nancy, the Wingo’s, Angela & Zach, Joe & Lucinda, Ken & Ginger, Steve & Jean, Karen & Dave, Sean & Marie, Jen & Troy, Betsy, Cate, Michael & Rachel.
64) Thanks for new friends I have made at work. Keebs, NDHogan, Angelucci, Cavallucci, TK, Gobin, Joey S., JR, Mayer, and more.
65) I have learned patience, compromise, and unconditional love.
66) We are not perfect but we respect the opinions of others, and we know there is nothing more fun than experiencing this thing called life with great friends and family.

So that’s it. Well, not really. I could have gone on. I left out a bunch of things, but those are stories best told over a beer. Looking back, the first 40 years have been nothing short of amazing. Thank you to my family and friends. Of course, special thanks to my wife Megan, my daughter Finnley, and my dog Batman, for bringing me more laughter, love, and joy than I probably deserve. Is luck real? Because I feel like the luckiest man on earth.
If the next 40 are anything like the first 40, they will be a blast and I will need a new liver. The moral of this story is simple if not cliché. In life you should take advantage of every opportunity knowing that every day on this planet is a gift….and as far as I’m concerned, it’s a BLAST!


woowoo110 said...

Happy Birthday!!

Anonymous said...

Matt that was awesome! Miss you both so much. Have a happy birthday.

Lucinda and Joe