There are two things I carry with me from Jenny Lawson (aka the Bloggess.) The first is the importance of perspective and picking your battles, and in my more recent history, a realization I came to about wishes.
The perspective thing is what changed how I see wishes.
At the end of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Jenny is sitting with her sister talking about how they give up their wishes for their kids – when they blow out the candles on their birthday cake, they wish things for their children. The first time I read the book, that seemed like a great idea, and something I’d likely do if/when I have children. The thing is, I read that book a year ago and there hasn’t been an occasion, even an incidental one, that I made a wish. Yes, I had a birthday and blew out candles but it was kind of a crazy birthday this year and I didn’t actually make a wish because of performance anxiety, even inside my own head.
Today when I was moving the clocks an hour forward (*shakes fist angrily at daylight savings time*), I happened to look at my phone at 11:11. I like wishing on 11:11 – it’s the most random thing you can encounter that it has been arbitrarily decided you can make a wish on. The first wish that came to me was an impossible wish. It wasn’t even a hope or a dream, it was straight up the kind of wish you shouldn’t make because it hurts you just making it because of the sheer impossibility.
I wished my friend was alive.
I’m not saying that I would do or give anything for her to be alive again; I don’t think she’d like that. It would be very season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and she would be Buffy. She’s been gone a year and her loss has given me a freaking lot of perspective. I had an opportunity to look at our friendship and figure out why it worked so well and was so enduring when so many other friendships were not. I’m trying to implement those lessons in other relationships, figure myself out, and figure out how to carry or let go of the weight of my grief.
It’s this grief that has given me perspective on wishes.
There’s a very good chance that when I have children I will give them my birthday wishes. But those random encounters – 11:11, a shooting star, the wish you make when you blow away an eyelash – I cannot see a time in which my instinctive wish won’t be the impossible one.
One of my new mantras in life is that this is all an exercise in perspective. Right now, this is mine. And maybe when I figure things out, that perspective will change because it’s allowed to change. For the time being though, I’m going to avoid wishes.