Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Turning 40!

Since it's my 40th birthday tomorrow, I thought I would remember the 40 best memories of my life in no particular order. Enjoy!

1. The birth of Avery Lipman - My first born. I was so excited.

2. The birth of Ethan Lipman - I thought I loved football before but this kid has taken it to a new level.

3. Meeting Andrea Herz - Meeting my wife was the best thing to happen to me and changed my life in so many ways. I still remember being at a party that I was not even supposed to be at. You gotta love fate!

4. Marrying Andrea Lipman - 11 years ago this past Sunday Andrea and I were married in Atlanta. I am grateful for each day
with her.

5. Running with the Olympic Torch - That was one of the coolest things I've ever done. Andrea, thanks for nominating me!

6. Seeing my first book in print, "Alive at 25" - My dad didn't even think I could read much less write. Ha Ha!

7. Seeing the Braves finally win the World Series - I was at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium that night. I was kind of hoping it would happen again one day. Still waiting...

8. Graduating from the University of Georgia - Though I took the long route, I was proud to get through all of my troubling times and make it out of school.

9. Each close to Wish for Wendy - The close of each Wish for Wendy is very exciting for me as I know we raised a lot of money for a good cause in memory of my sister.

10. Watching my wife run with the Olympic Torch - Seeing Andrea run with it was incredible. We all had T-shirts with her picture on them.

11. The birth of my sister Emily - I always thought I was happy being an only child but Emily changed that. Who would have thought that I had a reality star as a sister? Remember "The New Atlanta" everyone on Bravo this Fall.

12. Seeing Ethan score his first soccer goal - The kid actually kicked 8 goals in one game. The kid had been through so much after he was born but he survived and now is thriving. I'm so proud of him and grateful to Andrea for getting him in that study at Duke. Thanks honey!

13. Seeing Avery win her first medal as a gymnast - the kid is flexible! She puts in so much time at the gym. I'm really proud of her.

14. The day I won my first tennis trophy - Most people forget when they win trophies during their youth but that trophy could not have come at a more important time in my young life.

15. Running my first Peachtree Road Race - It will always be more than a race to me. Thanks Uncle Bobby for pushing me.

16. Running my first triathlon with Andrea - She demolished me but at least I finished. I always was a terrible swimmer but got through it. I was so proud of her as well.

17. My Bar Mitzvah - I was so nervous up there but I was proud to finally get through it. Now I have a video to prove that puberty took way too long for me.

18. Winning my first USTA championship - I remember that the guy who was supposed to play #1 singles got hurt after he and his mom basically put him at 1 singles, 1 doubles and mixed doubles that day because they thought the rest of us couldn't cut it. I won 8-1 and we won the title!

19. The 2001 UGA-Tennessee game - My wife would probably like to forget it. It was my first trip to Neyland Stadium and we won the game with just a few seconds left. My wife and I were only about 20 rows up from the end zone where the final catch was made. If our relationship could survive that, it could survive anything. Thanks to Manny, my father-in-law for the tickets. Go Dawgs!

20. Seeing the Opening Ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta - Thanks Dad for taking me.

21. The CSA Awards - We got to be on 11 Alive and I was one of 11 people chosen for this honor. Thanks again Aunt Susie for nominating me. I also made a good friend from it...Paul Ossmann, news meteorologist, who comes to every Wish for Wendy.

22. Being the speaker at Chipper Jones' gala dinner - The only issue was it was the day after Wish for Wendy and I didn't have much of a voice but I made it through the speech and even made fun of him for his Gators...as for once, the Dawgs had beaten them that year.

23. Being a batboy for the Braves - I got to meet Dale Murphy. I got to see a brawl that day too. So cool!

24. Being a 40 under 40 UGA honoree - Getting to walk on the field and be included with so many great UGA alumni was really cool. I remember having a table at the luncheon and my Aunt Loretta, who nominated me, cheered like nobody's business when they call my name. Thanks Greatest! I still don't know how I was asked to be part of that group but they can't take it back!

25. Being a speaker at the opening for the Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities for the CDC & Prevention - Thanks Andrea for helping me get this gig. I got to speak at the same event as the late great Dana Reeve (wife of the late Christopher Reeve, one of my heroes in life).

26. The day I lifted 300 pounds - It wasn't just about the number. It was about accomplishing a goal that was seemingly impossible when I was a scrawny kid in college.

27. Being a brother of Tau Epsilon Phi - I have so many friends from my fraternity at the University of Georgia that I can never be more thankful to the brotherhood. I have signed 2 Ketubahs which is the wedding contract for a Jewish marriage and is a great honor, been in 2 other weddings and was best man at my buddy Ross's wedding. All of these people were fraternity brothers of mine. I actually found out that this year a new UGA TEP pledge also has cystic fibrosis. Talk about passing the torch.

28. Being a speaker at a conference for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland in Wexford, Ireland - It was exciting to spend a week with my wife that concluded with me speaking in another country.

29. When Andrea surprised me with a baseball trip to Yankee Stadium and Fenway with my buddy Ross - Thanks Andrea. I had the time of my life watching America's pastime. Thanks Ross for going.

30. Going to Wimbledon with my family - That was a cool trip we took when I was in my teens. Tennis was my sport and seeing some of the greats of the game at these famous hallowed grounds was awesome. Thanks Mom and Dad!

31. Seeing the Dream Team debut in Barcelona - Going to my first Olympic Games was pretty cool but seeing The ORIGINAL Dream Team play in Barcelona was even better. That was the greatest team I've ever seen in person.

32. Being a ballboy for the Atlanta Hawks - The CF Foundation helped me to do this for a night. It was the Celtics and the Hawks. Dominique vs. Bird, McHale and Parish. I got to throw the ball to the Celtics in warm-ups. So cool!

33. Being a ball boy for the Federation Cup which is the Davis Cup for women - You'd think it would be cool because I saw young stars like Jennifer Capriati and Gabriela Sabatini but no, that's not it. I got to be the official ball boy for the Norway team. Enough said.

34. Being asked to be a board member for The Georgia Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation - I became the first patient to be a member which shows how far the median life expectancy of a CF patient has come.

35. Seeing Kalydeco approved by the FDA - This is the first HUGE CF treatment to come along...the first of many!

36. Finishing the advanced weight-lifting class in college - That was the most important class I ever took in college. It literally changed my life.

37. Being told that Andrea and I were pregnant with Avery and then with Ethan - Again, this is in no particular order or this would be very high up on the list. I never thought I'd be able to have kids. I'm blessed to have not one but two awesome little ones. Thank you Andrea for being a great mom...and wife too of course.

38. When my Aunt Anita invited Andrea and I to go to the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Alliance Gala - It was so cool to meet Garth and several professional athletes. Thanks Aunt Anita!

39. Being asked to be a Board Member at the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia - It's always an honor to be asked to be on a Board but especially as an alumnus at that college. I'm now in my 2nd year as a Board member.

40. My 30th birthday - When Andrea surprised me with about 75 of my closest friends at the Braves game. Thank you Andrea for making 30 so special.

I'm sure there are so many other memories I'm forgetting but the point is I'm so lucky for the experiences I've had the last four decades. Thank you to my family and friends for always being there. I love you guys very much.


* Honorable Mention:

My 21st birthday, my 25th birthday and my Bachelor Party - I remember very little about any of these but I heard we had a fun time.

Eventually being at a national championship game featuring the Georgia Bulldogs - I can dream, right?

The day my Aunt Anita brought Howard to me - Thank you Anita, Susie and my parents for bringing me my best friend - a friend I so badly needed when I was young.

The day I got my therapy machine - I didn't list it on the original 40 because at the time I did not realize how important this day would be in my life. It would finally allow me the independence I desired.

The day the Braves clinched the division in 1991 - They went from worst to first. It was an incredible season.

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