The Top 10 Events of My Life Thus Far
Tonight, watching a History Channel documentary on Woodstock and lamenting that I missed it, I started pondering what I didn’t miss: the amazing events that have shaped my life. I share my list in hopes that it inspires you to recall your Top 10 — the first ten of many.
1. First spiritual experience. In my stroller, just before my third birthday. It’s nighttime, with a new moon and a sky filled with stars. I think, “That’s home, up there. I’m here now. This is good. But it’s not home.”
2. A bigger world. Age 6. We drive from Kansas City to Miami and I see the ocean for the first time. I’m amazed. Then we take a ship to Cuba, pre-Revolution. I see a culture that isn’t mine. I get it: there’s more here than I realized.
3. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan. I’m catapulted at 13 into the larger culture and into identity with a generation. Nineteen months later I attend my first Beatles press conference (the story is in Living a Charmed Life, chapter 6). I come to see that absolutely anything is possible.
4. Move to London at 18. I discover yoga, the Quakers, Spiritualism, theosophy. I date a veger at St. Martin’s in the Fields and get to ring the church bells. I stop eating meat. A friend of mine, the Beatles’ equipment manager, tells me, “I’ve been everywhere and done everything, and the spiritual, ya know, it’s really all there is.”
5. First round of surrender toward overcoming compulsive eating. I’m 28. I’m in a diner, contemplating pie. The one and only time in my life that I “hear a voice,” it says, “If you eat that, I’ll never help you again.” I don’t have any pie. I start on the path of recovery. There’s a heavy relapse a couple of years later, but eventually, it deepens and stabilizes and, a day at a time, sticks.
6. My daughter, Rachael Adair, is born a week after my 33rd birthday. I know she’s a baby but that first twenty-four hours—we’re together without interruption, she and her dad and I; it was a home birth—she seems very old and very wise. My sense of her is: “Chinese man, long life, highly respected.” When she’s 8 and wants to study Chinese, I think of this again. (Here’s a photo of her in Tibet, age 8.)
7. My first book comes like a second child, for my 35th birthday. It’s called Compassion, The Ultimate Ethic: An Exploration of Veganism. It’s the result of fellowship I’d received in college six years before, and once it’s a book with a cover, I’m an author.
8. I meet Patti Breitman, my first literary agent. I’m 40, and this marks the beginning of a new
life. Meeting Patti is the closest thing to being discovered at a soda fountain in my experience. The subsequent 9 books, and all the ones I’ll write in the future, are seeded that August day in Eureka, California. (The photo is Patti signing her own book, How to Eat Like a Vegetarian, Even If You Never Want to Be One, co-authored by Carol Adams.)
9. I answer a singles’ ad. It turns out to be William’s. I’m 46. This is before 9/11 so the conventional wisdom is, “A woman over 40 has as much chance of getting married as she does of being attacked by terrorists.” Well, so much for statistics. Ten-and-a-half years after my dear Patrick’s death, William and I tie the knot. I’m still in love.
10. The move to New York City. I’m 50, when some people start thinking about quieting down. I’m just beginning to make noise. This town is tough. There is so much excellence you have to have your wits about you every minute. I live on this energy. I’m so lucky it fills me in floods and flows over.
Make your list. What has molded you and shaped you and made you who you are? I think you’ll find the exercise incredibly enlivening.
Victoria Moran is a certified life coach. Her company, Charm-Your-Life Coaching, is dedicated to spiritual-life coaching and bringing about your best life from the inside out. Read more at victoriamoran.com, and if you write or call to inquire, ask about the blog-reader’s discount.