Wishing, hoping: some advice I’ve heard


I’m back from New York — and coming to you with
some Blogtember words of wisdom today!

I’ve never been good at living in The Now.

It feels nebulous, hard to pin down.

When I was in elementary school, I couldn’t wait to be a fifth grader — oldest in the school — for the sense of power and sophistication it would grant me. Then I turned 10, got to fifth grade and . . . well, it was fun, but not all that I expected. And I couldn’t wait for middle school.

Then high school.

Then a driver’s license.

When I was single in those early days, I couldn’t wait for a boyfriend. Then I got a boyfriend — one in a string of wrong boyfriends — and . . . just wanted to be single.

I wished for freedom, for work, for life to begin. I remember visiting my future college with my dad one summer, back when I’d just received my learner’s permit. He let me drive the 45 minutes to campus on the Beltway, ever mindful of passing traffic, and I fell in love with the sense of independence that came from walking around the University of Maryland. Though I still had my senior year of high school to look forward to, it lost its appeal.

I suddenly couldn’t wait to get to college. I wanted to be older, wiser, grown up.

And now I’ve been done for six years.

Growing up, I used to bounce from activity to activity, constantly asking my parents “what we’d be doing next.” Whether it was playing Uno, watching TV, making dinner or scratching out some math problems, I liked having A Plan. I wanted to always know what we’d be tackling, where we’d be going. And I simply “couldn’t wait” to get there.

But I don’t say that phrase much anymore. My mom and dad drove home one salient point as I got older: Don’t wish your life away. I spent so much time waiting, waiting, waiting to hit Point A or Point B, wanting to reach some achievement or other, when I could have been taking a nice, cool sip of Right Now.

Right Now, I’m less than 70 days from my wedding. And just three weeks from my sister’s.

Right Now, I’m enjoying the creative inspiration that comes from a fresh, new office with so. much. natural light.

Right Now, I’m going through my bridal shower gifts and writing thank-yous and thinking about how lucky and grateful I am to know such amazing people. And to be marrying into a wonderful family.

Right Now, I’m remembering the first few sips of the first pumpkin spice latte this fall.

So the Right Now? It’s pretty awesome. And standing on the brink of so much change, I can’t help but feel fortunate.

The time, these fleeting moments . . . they’re precious. With so much to look forward to, I’d never wish that away.

Merry Christmas from write meg!

It’s that time of year: the moments I attempt to sit back and smell the hot cocoa. I’ll be finishing up the work week before getting ready to spend Christmas with my family and welcoming Spencer’s parents in from New York. Though I have a tough time stepping away from the laptop, I’m determined to soak up the season and am looking forward to watching “A Christmas Story” and vegging out for a few days. It’s been a busy month.

I hope your stockings are hung by the chimney with care. Thank you for spending 2011 with me — I’m looking forward to checking in next week with my “best of” book list (it’s mandatory!) and a recap of my yuletide. I’m wishing you all a very, very happy Christmas — have some eggnog for your girl.

Three coins in a Buffalo fountain

As we grow older, opportunities to make wishes seem to evaporate. Where once we blew out birthday candles with relish or were coaxed into asking something of the universe when a friend plucked an eyelash from our cheek, the chance to silently voice our desires — something I once did freely — isn’t one I get often.

In Buffalo last month, I walked around Niagara Square with Spencer, his mom and Levi, Spencer’s good friend. In the very center of the square is the McKinley Monument, a beautiful structure dedicated to President William McKinley after he was killed in Buffalo during the Pan-American Exposition of 1901.

I didn’t know much about McKinley. But I know a good fountain when I see one, and Niagara Square has a good fountain.

Fishing a penny from my purse, I stood on tip-toe to peer into the crystal blue water shimmering around the base of the tall obelisk. The sun was partially obscured as I looked down at the other coins already thrown by visitors — handfuls of them. All those quiet wishes.

Spencer stood to the left of me with Levi, both of them briefly concentrating before throwing their money into the water. Levi’s bounced once and didn’t go far; Spence got some air time with his. As I watched them, I kept my penny snug in my palm.

I didn’t know what to wish for.

All of my old standby wishes no longer seemed appropriate. For a while when I was young, I wished for Matt, a gorgeous classmate who looked like he’d just stepped off a California beach, to like me. That’s right: I wished for a crush — a very unlikely crush — to be reciprocated. And I wished it hard, every chance I got.

Once I wisened up to the fact that Matt wasn’t ever going to pay me any mind, I started wishing for other things: my family’s health; good grades in school; no cavities at my next dentist appointment; a boyfriend.

Since my wishes have, as of late, been limited to the yearly birthday-candle variety, I haven’t put too much thought into it. As I was often in a not-quite-right relationship, I would wish for the strength to make good decisions — and to know the path I should take in the future. A path that might have taken me away from the men in my life, or maybe towards them. Or a path that would send me off all on my own.

My wishes have always been more like prayers. And maybe my prayers have been more like wishes.

Standing at the fountain in August, I could have wished for my family’s continued good health and a hope of great things to come. Or perhaps to advance in my career, where I edit and read and write. I could have wished for wealth or good fortune; for my upcoming tooth surgery to go well (frightening); for my cousin Ciara to have a good time in high school. For my sister’s new job to turn out well.

But this time, I stayed selfish. I made a wish just for me. And for once — once — it wasn’t for true love. Spencer tossed in his penny right before me, where it made a comforting splash.

I watched the coins sink until I couldn’t tell his from mine, or mine from his. Until they were submerged and out of view.