Be careful what you wish for

woman lying on white sand beach

Photo by Riccardo Bresciani on

When I was very young, my dad and I would sit on the grass and watch the stars. As the first star shone, he taught me to say:

“Star light, star bright
First star I see tonight
I wish I may
I wish I might
Have the wish
I wish tonight.”

A child’s wish is very powerful.

When I was only six, I made a list of the things I wanted to do when I was an adult. On my list were two really important things. 1) I wanted to go to college. No one in my family had been to college. I don’t know what I wanted to learn there, but I had this burning need for knowledge.

My second wish was that I would travel. I wanted to see the world. I had at least one destination in mind–Japan. As I became a pre-teen I put those dreams on hold. I already knew that I had a higher intelligence than most of my peers. I was also the youngest in all of my classes.

Still my parents decided to leave me bored and unhappy. In second grade I was so bored, I read the entire reading list in one week. Then I started to bring books to school to read. I would give part of my brain to the teacher. If I already knew the subject, I wouldn’t listen until I had to take a test. I skated through school this way, making As and Bs.

When I reached the ripe age of thirteen, my parents decided to home school us. At that time my actual learning stopped and I was expected to teach my siblings basic math and reading. My parents had my life mapped out for me. I would work, get an educational degree, and teach children. I was so good at it. I would be married and have my own children then.

When I reached my early twenties and found that I wasn’t going to accomplish either of my dreams, I think I hit bottom. My parents wants for me contradicted my wants for me. I could follow them or I could break free.

I decided to break free. I joined the US Navy and became an electronics tech. I met my husband there, then when I left the Navy I acquired a degree in English Literature. I was 42 when I managed to accomplish that goal. In the Navy and afterward, I traveled to Japan, Panama, and Germany. I even spent a couple of years in South Africa.

Wishes are powerful things. What I didn’t know was that to gain what I wanted, I did sacrifice stability. My life up to now has been constant change. Sometimes I wonder if I would had been ill if I had taken that other path. But I know, deep down inside, that if I had caved, I would be a bitter unhappy woman and empty of experiences.

So wish– and be careful what you wish for– because you might get it.

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