A new Beverly Hills home, a new man (musician John Mayer, 31) and her first new movie in more than two years, Marley & Me: There is no doubt that for Jennifer Aniston, 2008 has been a year of ringing in the new. The actress, who has another big milestone in 2009—she turns 40 on Feb. 11—spoke with PEOPLE’s Julie Jordan to answer your questions.
How did your dogs [Norman and Dolly] react to your Marley costars? Was there any intense jealousy?
—Misti Bell, Bridge City, Texas
Oh, play it for me, Misti! Dolly didn’t travel to Miami because she is too young at 2 1/2, and to put her in a trailer didn’t seem fair. All Norman wants to do is just lie at my feet, which is what I like. [The trainers] were strict about letting the Marleys play with other dogs. But there was no jealousy because Norman is very secure. Norman is now 13, but even back [as a puppy] he was as cool as a cucumber. He’s just a person in a dog suit.
What is the most important life lesson you’ve learned from your dogs?
—Carla Perrotta, Detroit
Oh gosh, Carla, patience, I would say. Patience and that sort of unconditional love—they’re yours and especially you are theirs.
Does [John Mayer] make you laugh a lot? Can you elaborate on feeling protective of him?
—Jason Daniel Gonzalez, Southern California
Very sweet. I’m not going to bring [him] into this though. I’m protective of everybody that I love—very protective.
Do you think you will remarry?
—Kizzi Lewellen, Childress, Texas
I don’t know! I honestly don’t know. I’m not against it. Maybe [smiles]. Maybe, sure.
What’s your idea of the perfect romantic evening?
—Margaret Beattie, Gourock, Scotland
I would say going out to dinner to a lovely romantic restaurant. Romantic evenings can be packing a picnic and going to sunset on the beach. And then maybe going to see a movie. Or a walk. Or going to see music. I’m easy to please.
What have you learned from dating [in the public eye]?
—Amy Greene, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
[Laughs] That if you start to date somebody, by the third date, you can guarantee I’ll be pregnant with twins.
What do you find most attractive in a man?
—Rachel Mick, Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Consistency and kindness. And humor. Let me think about that [pauses]. I would say sense of humor is the most attractive—for me that’s my No. 1, and kindness is a real close runner-up.
Are you looking forward to turning 40?
—Marisa Grill, Cleveland
I’m very excited. I had more of a panic going into 30. I think you realize that it just gets better. When they say youth is wasted on the young, it’s so true. Oh my God, what I wish I’d known when I was 30!
If you weren’t an actress, what job would you like to have?
—Jill Domin, Horsham, Pa.
Either a doctor or a therapist. I’m obsessed with surgery and doctors. My dad [actor John Aniston] was going to be a doctor for a period, and we’d watch medical shows. As for therapy, I was always the friend people came to: “Can I talk to you about something?” I really enjoyed that.
What is your happiest childhood memory?
—Kellan Partridge, Bangor, Northern Ireland
I would say Christmas. My mom and I would go to Tavern on the Green in the Crystal Room and then we’d wake up and have Christmas morning.
Do you carry on any of your childhood holiday traditions? What are some you’ve created for yourself?
—Jillian Sexton, Nova Scotia
My favorite tradition is picking out my tree and then the tree trimming. I just got mine! And there’s eggnog, Christmas carols, usually chili, cupcakes. I’ve cooked the chili—my mom has a great recipe. But now I have a lovely lady cook it because I want people to be happy!
If you had one day to yourself, knowing nothing would be photographed, what would you do?
—Cherie Bell Brown, Coleman, Mich.
I would have breakfast with my girlfriends and take a walk. Then I would go to my favorite stores on [L.A.’s] Third Street; then I would meet friends for lunch and go to a movie at the busiest mall I could find. I’d meet somebody I love for dinner. Oh, did I throw in go to the dog park? I’d do that too.
What do you say to fans who hope to see a Friends reunion?
—Joelle Proulx, Quebec
Keep your positive thoughts going—nothing wrong with thinking positive. We know how much people want that, and we would of course do it if it’s right. But I say do it way before we get to be geriatric Friends. Like when you watched The Brady Bunch reunion and were like, “Oh my God, look how old Cindy looks!” No, no, no. Let’s hurry it up.
Your skin always glows. What is your daily routine?
—Heather Gutekunst, Marietta, Ga.
I wash my face every night and morning with the same thing I’ve used since high school—Neutrogena cleansing bar. The products I use are [Dr.] Hauschka moisturizer during the day and my eye cream is SK-II.
What five things do you grab to make you feel at home wherever you go?
—Cassandra Procopio, Atlanta
A Manuel Canovas candle, my small feather pillow, my iPod, Norman, if I’m allowed, and always a picture of the dogs.
What is one thing you want to do in your life that you haven’t done yet?
—Gabriella Dorella, Ontario
I want to road-trip across the United States. Some of my best times happen just outside New York or L.A.—you’re just a human. It’s really nice.
When you’re having a bad day, what inspires you?
—Laurie Pharr, Austin, Texas
You just have to love your life. I have my health, I have my friends, I have my loved ones. I’m extremely lucky.