Welcome to the 3:30 Project. The 3:30 Project is a collaborative blog by three life long friends: Maggie, Mary Margaret and Jillian. This week, we have each shared a letter in which we introduce ourselves to the New Year, 2017.
Hi. You must be 2017? I’m Mary Margaret. We’ve just met, so I realize there’s a lot you don’t know about me…and full disclosure, I’m wary of you also, especially given the year that just ended. But for the sake of getting acquainted, shall we cover some basics?
My lease renewal just arrived in the mail, so it’s looking like I’ll be in Brooklyn for the four seasons of you— my seventh year in this crazy, marvelous, horrible-wonderful city, believe it or not. I’m a freelance costume technician for the performing arts, so you can usually find me somewhere on or off-Broadway—in a costume shop, dressing room, or the shadowy wings of a theatre—if you’re looking.
I’m still single in the city, but what of that, really? My existence is made real by the amazing set of lives that surround me; my two sisters, two nephews, parents, a large extended family, friends, especially the two darling friends I am embarking on the 3:30 Project with, co-workers, fellow church members…. I guess more than anything in 2017, I’m hoping to know them better, to love them better. But not only them—what would you say to helping me try to do that with all the people I come into contact with: my fellow subway rat dodgers, corner store line waiters, and sidewalk denizens?
I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, but I believe in looking forward in hope, even when things seem scary (did 2016 happen to mention last November on the way out?). So 2017, how about more yoga, more Facetime calls with my nephews, more reading, more writing, as much time outdoors as we can manage, more prayer, more courage, and always, always more compassion. There’s only so much of you and only so much of me, but let’s try.
It looks like you’re going to be doozy of a year, and I’m turning 30 in four short months. Let me it lay it all out, because I have got high hopes for you.
I hope this is the year I turn into a real adult. You know – one who never has to hand out paper towels instead of napkins. One who can set out a plate of cheese and crackers when someone drops by unexpectedly, instead of a plastic bowl of CheezIts. Someone who knows who’s on her city council. Someone who saves for retirement, who reseals her stone tiles every six months like clockwork, who, speaking of clockwork, keeps the clock on her mantel, you know, running. Someone who wears matching socks every single day.
I hope this is the year I start to feel like someone who belongs in this computer science program I’m in. Someone who understands recursion and The Stack.
I hope I can be a little more zen about having to reset the wireless router. Or having to plug in my laptop when I left the cord downst-
My laptop literally shut down while I was typing that.
I have high hopes for other people this year, too. I hope this is the year that store clerks and Jehovah’s Witnesses stop trying to chat with me. I hope this is the year that slower drivers decide to keep right, and I hope my husband finally accepts that they never, ever will.
I hope this is the year that Siri and Alexa and Cortana become gender neutral, without those sexy customer service voices. And I hope sexy Russian spambots stop DMing my husband on instagram.
I hope this is the year that people stop being pretentious about remakes. I hope – dear god, I hope! – this is the year that people stop. using. periods. for. emphasis.
I hope this is the year that faith squelches fear. I hope this is the year that listening to one another starts to mean believing one another. I hope this is the year that Christians finally attempt the radical peace that Jesus taught us. I hope I’m someone who does something about it.
I hope this is the year I start to trust that there is still time for all the growth I don’t achieve this year, and all the progress our world doesn’t make this year. I hope, at the end of this year, I have even more hope for the next.
You’re going to fail me, 2017. I’m going to fail myself. But I hope I can forgive us both, and I hope we keep trying.
As I embark on my thirtieth year on this planet, I can say with confidence that I am an adult. It has taken 29 years for me to be able to say this, and in those 29 years I have done some amazing things: I’ve learned how to use the potty independently; I’ve learned how to feed myself; I’ve gotten a college education, learned to pay bills online, filed taxes, married my high school sweetheart, earned a black belt, had two babies, and owned a small business.
What’s my secret?
Here you go:
I thought that the college degree, black belt, or filing my taxes would come with some sort of Certificate of Adulthood. Or that I would get some grown up version of a report card that highlighted the progress I was making in life and give me an idea of what was to come. Perhaps there was a Life Catalog where I could choose my track, pick my courses and guarantee success.
I have spent a good bit of my 20s feeling more than a little frustrated that this was not how life was turning out. Diplomas, certificates and receipts do pile up, along with toddler artwork, incomplete scrapbooks and dirty laundry.
It turns out that when you’re an adult, you create the catalog, the rubric, the tests, the grades and (if you want) the certificates.
So, 2017, I am thrilled to begin this year with the knowledge that I am (at long last) an adult. Not because I’ve completed a checklist of tasks (dog, car, mortgage, children…), but because I now understand that I will never have total confidence in all the choices that I’ve made. I will never be able to go back and check the work of my life and know that I haven’t made a careless error. And I am finally okay with that.
With that knowledge, I am embracing the idea of resolution in 2017. Not to create a whole new me or change my life completely, but to make my life a little better. To stretch myself to be and do a little more. I want to sleep better, take care of my feet and dress better. I want to keep my kitchen a little cleaner. I want to take my dog on walks sometimes. I want to write. I want to be more involved in my community. Sometimes, I want to have enough patience to respond to my daughters with kindness when I might have rolled my eyes or yelled.
I know I won’t be perfect, but I hope, 2017, when we look back at this year, we remember this as the year that I did a little better.