Wishing in the Real World

Categories Life, Self

It is the time of year for wishing.

We wish for presents and surprises from Santa. We wish it would snow. We wish it wouldn’t snow. We wish spring would come already because good grief it’s cold outside. We wish we had lost that extra weight this year, or at the very least exercised more often.

We wish that we had…

…read more books.

…tackled that project.

…been kinder to that person.

…remembered to buy tarragon at the supermarket.

The lists are endless.

I have a wish list, too. There are many things I wish for right now. Some are quite large; others are seemingly insignificant. Many are probably things you wish for, too. Some I can’t share here. (You know, because if you want your wishes to come true, you can’t say them out loud. Or something.) As I’ve spent the last few days thinking about what to say about wishes, I’ve realized something a bit sobering. I’ve realized that none of my wishes – from the greatest to the least – are likely to come true. At least not without some effort on my part.

I’m not saying I don’t believe in wishing. I do. But the realist in me knows that wishes only come true when we take action. Whether we wish for smaller jeans or world peace, we only achieve what we desire by taking a first step toward making those wishes reality. It’s simple. Want to lose weight? Adjust your diet and exercise habits. Want to read more books? Get thee to a library. Want the world to be a kinder place? Be nice to the guy who will cut you off in the parking lot tomorrow and give him a smile, not the middle finger. Or maybe just give up the great parking spot willingly and park a little farther away. Now you can add a good deed and a short walk to your day. (Smaller jeans, here we come!)

Wishing is a beautiful thing. But wishes are nothing if not coupled with sincere confidence and trust in the power of possibility. Children know this – it’s why they have no trouble wishing for what they want, and they believe with all of their beautifully unspoiled little hearts that those wishes can come true. We lose that confidence and trust as we grow older, but we don’t have to. So often our belief in wishes and magic becomes disappointment and cynicism, rather than a shift to understanding that all magic needs a little help. OK, so there are things in life that we can’t change by effort and action. You can’t actually make it stop snowing or change the temperature outside. But rather than wishing away what we don’t like, maybe what we need is a fresh perspective, to find something to appreciate about our current situation. I don’t like snow very much, but I do like the way it muffles sound and rounds out the rough edges of the landscape. It reminds me to slow down and to be quiet for just a moment. That’s effort and action, isn’t it? I may not stop the snow, but I may stop my irritation. I still win.

I have a lot of wishes that did not come true for me this year. Instead of allowing myself to sink into frustration and disappointment, I want to use those unfulfilled wishes as a springboard for the next leg of my life’s journey. I’m saving that discussion for a separate post, though. I hope you’ll come back and share your thoughts.

In the meantime, as we continue through this season of holiday celebrations and end-of-year reflections, I wish all of you good health, happiness with the action you take in life, and peace within yourself. I’m off to write myself a note to remember that I need to buy tarragon. Oh, and it just started to snow…

Happy, blessed, magical everything!



Joining the group over at Finish the Sentence Friday, hosted by Kristi Campbell of Finding Ninee.

 This week’s sentence is “I wish…”

FINISH THE SENTENCE FRIDAY is a link-up that lets bloggers to share their ideas based on a particular sentence. To get notice of future sentences and participate, join our FACEBOOK GROUP! 

Lisa A. Listwa is a self-employed writer with experience in education, publishing, and the martial arts. Believing there was more to life than punching someone else’s time clock and inspired by the words of Henry David Thoreau, she traded her life as a high school educator for a life as a writer and hasn’t looked back. She is mother to one glorious handful of a daughter, wife to the nicest guy on the planet, and reluctant but devoted owner of three Rotten Cats. You can find her adventures and thoughts on living life deliberately here on the blog.

18 thoughts on “Wishing in the Real World

  1. So many things I wish I’d known to do! And so many things I wish I’d done that I knew I should! This was a sobering post! Thanks?

  2. I love this, Lisa. It’s a great reminder that to get our wishes to come true, we must act. Walk more, eat less, and don’t flip the guy off in the parking lot. Sounds easy as a list, but in the moment, oh… I love the way you describe a child’s wish. Tucker’s still 100% convinced there’s a Santa, and he has a list, and I have to tell him that Santa can’t grant them all because he has to visit the whole world… and he’s like “but Mom, he’s magic…” And so it may end up that I shop for a keyboard, although I’m not sure about it. Also – buy tarragon (what are you making? because I’ve never used tarragon that I recall…).

    1. VERY hard in the moment, Kristi. That’s the challenge. Zilla is 100% a believer and I am glad. (Mostly because I’M not ready for that to stop…) That “but he’s magic” thing is so tricky, isn’t it? We’ve had some interesting discussions about that.
      Tarragon is something I use all the time. I love it on eggs and use it on top of soups. I keep dried as a staple, but mine is empty. Fresh is amazing when it’s available. Someday I’m going to have a kitchen window herb garden.

  3. “Wishes” are an interesting concept, aren’t they? I imagine you or I could go on philosophizing about the idea of the wish and what it means, how to manifest it, what it means if wishes don’t come true, WHY they do or don’t come true, etc.
    But you hit it on the head when you spoke of action. That’s such a powerful little two-syllable word, that one: action. Without it, nothing happens. When we put our focus and our strength behind action to fulfill a wish, powerful things happen.
    But, you know without the original wish, then nothing else could follow.
    Haha. I’m waxing philosophical on this early Saturday morning. I’m either not awake and badly need some tea, or my subconscious mind has taken over and I’m delirious. Hehe. Either way, I love thinking about wishes and very much enjoyed this read. 🙂

    1. No, I think you’re exactly right. Action is powerful, but without the wish, without desire, there would be no impetus for action. They go hand in hand, don’t they?

  4. Wishes are the spark that give our actions meaning. I think of vision work (for businesses and artists) as dreaming out-loud and giving concrete details to what our wishes look like if they came true. I believe with all my heart this is where we begin. We set that vision in our life’s sky like a northern star to guide us by. Loved this post, Lisa! And I’m thrilled you like tarragon. It’s my favorite kitchen spice!

    1. I like that – the spark and dreaming out loud. It makes perfect sense. If we didn’t do that, how would we ever move toward those dreams?
      Tarragon is one of my favorites, too!

  5. hey! ain’t no such a thing as synchronicity …is there? lol totally enjoy your handling of ‘the problem of the wish’, (perhaps a kinder take on it than I essayed …certainly more eloquent)

  6. Ah such a wise insightful post Lisa. I haven’t thought much about my wishes coming true this past year- but I’d bet they didn’t… And yet, I don’t really dwell on them or the ones to come either. Sure, I wish a ton of things that as you declared- will probably never happen, but I also need to try. You are so right- ACTION is key.

    I often think there’s so much to be grateful for in my life, my wishes are icing on the cake really. 🙂

    “But rather than wishing away what we don’t like, maybe what we need is a fresh perspective, to find something to appreciate about our current situation.” <– Amen to that. LOVE.

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