You know the story. High wall. Fragile man. Great fall. Irreparable damage. There were many moments where it felt like that was my year.
Shortly after turning 33, someone told me it was my Jesus year. Listen, I don’t know what that means but if it means growing acquainted with the cross, not having your worth recognized by people, and facing disappointment constantly I guess it was then. (Though, I suppose if it means a year of great ministry that’s all applicable here as well.)
Whatever happens, 34 can’t possibly be as bad as 33 (right? RIGHT?). I say this partially because 33 was just so bad but also because I presume 33 was training for whatever comes next.
Many things “went wrong” last year, but unlike Mr. Dumpty, there were some good things as well.
Year 33 Highlights
This dear friend from grad school’s wedding was seriously the most celebratory celebration of anything celebrated I’ve ever experienced. It was also a mini-reunion of sorts. So much fun!
Personal victory: I wore a swimsuit with no covering for the first time since I was a kid for about 10 minutes before covering myself back up.
Memorial Day Weekend/Sheridan Wedding in New York/New Jersey
First of all, I was super happy for my good friend Phil! Less importantly it was my first DC friend’s wedding, first wedding I’ve been to where I knew both the bride and groom, and first wedding with other church friends attending. Felt like prom. But better.
I also rode up to New Jersey to spend the weekend with some friends and really enjoyed everyone’s company
Writing: My blog, Perissos, Center for Christian Civics
I loved being able to write for new audiences and improve my craft. I also deeply appreciate anything that refocuses my thinking Godward as writing often does.
Public Speaking: Storytelling, Symposium, and Panel
In December I got to do storytelling for a group of middle and high schoolers in Baltimore. Jennifer Zunikoff, the Master Storyteller, was a treat to work with and I enjoy any kind of public speaking. In the Spring my church hosted a panel related to waiting in your careers that I participated in. I had a blast reflecting on and sharing about my experiences. Late summer, a friend’s house threw a symposium/open-mic type party and I wrote and performed the story of the Shunammite Woman.
Christmas Trees of DC
I don’t know what came over me—the Christmas spirit perhaps?—but I saw over 80 Christmas trees around DC last year! I’m thinking of going to Philly or New York this December to do something similar.
Small Group Leader Send Off
My last week at small group when people went around and said something they’d appreciated about my leadership of the group and prayed for me was really special. Seeing how God had used me in the lives of my friends was so encouraging. One of my friends thanked God during prayer that they each knew Him better because they knew me. This is the highest compliment I could be given.
I have been floored again and again by the generosity of my friends this year. I feel like people have been really good to me this year and that I’ve made some new friends that have made an already relationally-rich life even richer.
I started drinking this year! Yes, at 33. I found a few things I liked. A few things I didn’t like but drank anyway. Discovered that too much drinking and not enough exercise makes you look pregnant-ish. Not cool, alcohol, not cool.
I had never been to a protest before this year. This year I went to three (and could have/should have gone to more). It felt good to be a part of such a historic event and to take a stand for things I believe in and against things I oppose. Grateful for that freedom.
First NBA Basketball Game
A part of what made this really fun was the company. I went with some of my coworkers where I was temping and it felt for an evening like normal. Like I had a real job and real coworkers and not a care in the world. The game itself was also fun to watch. I like the atmosphere of live sporting events even if I don’t really like the sport itself.
What I learned
I send a monthly prayer update and here are some of the things I shared with those gals that I learned:
- Not that we shouldn’t praise God for answered prayers but this year has proved, at least for me, that silence, no’s, not yets, and hardship are every bit as much “God things.”
- If my sevenfold gets paid out in faith in the sufficiency of Christ, certainty of God’s character, grace to love enemies, and an ability to comfort other with the same comfort I myself have received then I am indeed far the richer. Only a fool mistakes these for consolation prizes.
- I’ve been meditating on what it means to be content, on what it means for my cup to overflow when it looks empty, and how to hold in tension that there are things I desire but nothing I lack. A verse that keeps coming back to me is 1 Timothy 6:6, “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” I think I’m learning that you can be disappointed without surrendering your joy or hope.
Strange Side Effect
Empathy — I wouldn’t say I wasn’t empathetic before this year, but I’ve become very sensitive to others’ disappointment and loss. I start crying when I see other people face some of the things I’ve faced last year. The other day I passed a woman who was crying on the street and started crying as well. Yesterday I was watching Hanging with Mr. Cooper and cried during the episode where he got cut from the Warriors basketball team. I cried when Dr. Strange wakes up in the hospital and realizes he will never be a surgeon again. I was walking through a room that had Grey’s Anatomy on and passed the scene where Christina learns that she lost her baby and couldn’t stop crying. I wanna say this is a good thing. But it can also be a) embarrassing and b) a little emotionally draining.
Goals for 34
- Write more
- Run something (doesn’t matter how long, I just miss training for races)
- Visit former roommate Khanh in Germany
- Find a permanent job and marry it
- Do something musical again
- Do more public speaking
Shameless plug for words of affirmation for my birthday if you want to get me something. That’s my love language (along with acts of service to receive, I like to give gifts though but not receive them)!
34, please pleasantly surprise me. Pretty please.