This I Believe

I’m not an overly optimistic person. If someone tells me that something bad will soon happen, I’ve found it in my nature to probably agree. I’ve always been one to give second chances to those who are close to me, but I’ll admit that I tend to expect the worst out of people. When I was a young kid, my mother would always roll her eyes at my unusually realistic approaches to things, constantly analyzing the pros and cons of any choice. When I “wake up on the wrong side of the bed,” I just assume my day is going to be a flop. If I forget to grab something before I leave for school, it becomes clear to me that the absence of that one thing will hold me back from getting anything done. Of course, my pessimism doesn’t make me an intolerable person and I have many friends who value time spent with me. I’m not a “Scrooge” or “Debby Downer” in any outward way, mostly just in my own head.

For these reasons, one might think that a shooting star, dropping a coin into a fountain, or blowing out all the birthday candles is lost on me. Yet, this is couldn’t be farther from the truth. I believe in making a wish.

A few days ago it was November 11, 2011. Many people make a wish when they catch the clock at exactly 11:11 (am or pm), so you can imagine my excitement at 11:11, 11/11/11. A once in a lifetime type of wish experience! The anticipation built as I watched the clock turn from 11:08 to 11:09, 11:09 to 11:10… I could barely contain my excitement. Then it happened. As the minute turned I began wishing harder than I have ever before. I wished for superficial things, I wished for personal triumphs, I wished for romance, I wished for academic achievements, I wished for my family, and I wished for my friends. Needless to say, by 11:12, I was quite simply all wished out.

Now, the realist in me acknowledges that making a wish and working to make that wish come true are two entirely different things. Wishing on the clock, throwing a coin in a fountain, or catching a shooting star is not enough to lead a good life, it takes more than that. I always set goals for myself and work to achieve them; I work hard at school, uphold all other responsibilities, challenge myself with extracurricular activities, maintain my friendships and bonds with family members, etc. I don’t just wish for things, I actively work to make them happen.

So why wish at all, then? For me, it’s a chance to forget the pessimism and relinquish control of the situation. It’s an opportunity to be honest with myself and think about what I really want, allowing in that brief moment a clear image of who I am. It’s a time to forget any fears or limitations, my inabilities or my capabilities, and have faith that maybe, just this once, I’ll get what I most desire. It provides me with positive feelings and a brief chill of anticipation, even during my most horrible days or in gloomiest of moods. A wish is believing in something good coming my way, without disruption or painstaking effort.

Simply put, for this pessimist a wish is a matter of hope.  And regardless if it comes true or not, I believe in making a wish. I urge everyone to take a second and stop to think about what you really want or what you’re working so hard for. And when you next catch the clock at 11:11 or see that shooting star, have some hope, let yourself dream, and make a wish.

“When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are… If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme…” -Disney, Pinocchio

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