Last year on my birthday I made 23 Wishes. I had gotten the idea from Hannah Katy when she made 22 wishes on her 22nd birthday. The great thing about birthdays is that you get to make a wish. You get to dream big, close your eyes and think really hard about the things you wish for. Hope for.
Many of my wishes remain exactly the same. Some have changed slightly. A couple I no longer wish for. Some are brand new. If I were granted 24 wishes on my 24th birthday what would they be? In no particular order:
My first wish is for my family. May they know how much I love them, even though we are separated by distance, by sickness, by time. May my family be healthy and happy in the next year.
My second wish is for my friends. For those who have come and gone. For those who are still here. And those I've yet to meet. Every friendship lost brings with it a lesson learned. With every friend who knows me, and has stuck around anyway, comes a true friendship. It is these friends that I am so lucky to have. May all of my friends find a love unparalleled, a joy unequalled, and a peace that goes beyond all understanding.
My third wish is for fellow teachers. May you never forget why you went into this profession. May the bureaucracy and the politics never outshine, or take away from the passion you have for teaching. May every rough day have a glimmer of light that reminds you why you do this, and why you love it. May you never outgrow your love of learning, and your desire to share that.
My fourth wish is for students. May you know how much your teachers care. May you strive to achieve your greatest potential. I hope that you find ways to connect. Join a club, a choir, a sport. May your education help you discover where you passion lies. May you find a way to pursue that passion with everything you have.
My fifth wish is that I may have the chance to have my own classroom. To be able to share my love of learning, and especially of social studies, with students has been my dream since I was a little girl. May I soon have my own classroom, may I inspire students, may I teach them something new, may I be the best teacher that I could possibly be.
My sixth wish is for high school and college graduates this year. May you always look back on your years at school and remember the good. When things got tough, you made it through. When you go out into the world it seems that possibilities are endless. Don't box yourself in. Don't settle for anything less than what you truly want.
My seventh wish is for all those who have influenced my life. Family, friends, coworkers, co-leaders at church, pastors, mentors... all of you. May you know that the little things you do make a difference just as much as the big things. May you know that the person I am, is because of all of you. You have taught me, guided me, stood beside me, encouraged me, supported me. May you find the same love and support that I have received through you.
My eighth wish is for writers. You have an incredible gift. The gift to put words to a page, to weave together a story that draws your reader in. For the bloggers whose blogs I enjoy, may you continue to find inspiration. May the words never cease. And if they do, may you find another way to share with others. May writers, and bloggers, and authors know that their words matter.
My ninth wish is for every single person who takes time to make a difference. May you be recognized for your work. May the time and effort you put into your cause become a boomerang. May you be rewarded for your efforts and may you be an inspiration to others.
My tenth wish is for girls that fwith feeling ‘not pretty enough,’ ‘not smart enough’ or just not enough. It is hard to look in the mirror and not like what you see. It is hard to be with others and feel less than. My wish for you is that you find the thing that makes you you. Dust it off, clean it up and let it shine. Shine like a diamond. It may take you years, it may take a lifetime. May you find something about yourself you love so you can build on that foundation.
My eleventh wish is for all those who seek perfection. There is no such thing as perfect. If there is, I've never seen it. Only one man has ever walked this earth perfectly and he did it over 2,000 years ago. May you learn that getting from point A to point B doesn't have to happen in a straight line. May you come to recognize that sometimes the greatest lessons are learned on squiggles and zig-zags of life.
My twelfth wish is for all those who are weary. Weary in mind, body or spirit. We can't always be upbeat and happy. Sometimes we are just weary. But in those moments of weariness, stop. Take a moment. When that minute is up my wish is that you gather the strength to get up, he courage to keep trying, and the faith that it will get better.
My thirteenth wish is for all those who feel like they are hanging on. There are times in our lives when we feels as though we've reached the end of our rope. I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said, "when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." My wish is that you do. That you hang in there. That we all hang on.
My fourteenth wish is for those who are bullied, and those who bully. For the bullied, may you never take the mean-spirited comments at face value. There is something behind them that probably has nothing to do with you. May you find someone you can talk to so you don't have to be alone. For those who bully, may you find what it is that makes you feel like you have to be mean to others to make you cooler, or smarter, or somehow better. When you find it, my wish and hope is that you change it.
My fifteenth wish is for all those who fear. Fear is destructive. It can paralyze us, and keep us from living our lives to the fullest. My wish is that all who fear come to understand their fears, because I have to believe that when we understand fear, we take away it's power. And we take it back for ourselves.
My sixteenth wish is that we all, every one of us, experience failure at some point in our lives. This may seem a strange wish. But how you can appreciate success without experiencing failure? May you fail with dignity and rise with grace.
My seventeenth wish is for the children of the world. May you never, ever be forced to give up your innocence too soon. May you be given the time to be little. To be children. To have fun, and play.
Everyone needs to grow up eventually, but it is not yet your time.
My eighteenth wish is for global understanding. World peace may be impossible. Has there every been a time in human history where they wasn't fighting, or hatred or feuding somewhere? I doubt it. So my wish instead is that we come to understand each other. That the global community steps out of it's comfort zone and begins to recognize that our differences do not make us weak. They make us strong. They make us human.
My nineteenth wish is for all the dreamers out there. Never lost sight of your dream. It's hard not to, I know. There are bills to pay, people to support, and I understand that. So sometimes our dreams change, they evolve, they become what we think of as more 'realistic'. If your dream is possible may you try to reach it. My wish is that you always dream. Dream big. Because if you dream, there's always the chance it will come true.
My twentieth wish is for all those who are searching or who feel lost. You may search forever and never find what you're looking for. But don't miss out on something different, maybe even better, because you're too focused on one thing. May you discover that there is no right way to live. No GPS for life. No map that we all must follow. My wish is that you hear this: what you want might be a lie, and what you need may pass you by.
My twenty-first wish is that we all remember the sunset. Life is hard, it's messy and sometimes we lose sight of what really matters. So in your haste to get from point A to B, in the midst of your to-do list, my wish is that you remember the sunset. For me, it's a literal sunset, or beautiful flowers, or hearing laughter. Whatever it is, may you remember that the world won't stop turning just because you're busy. The world will not end if that call isn't made right now. Many things in life can wait, the sunset won't!
My twenty-second wish is for him. I may have already met him or our paths may not have crossed. Wherever you are, I know that you will get here when you can (but maybe you could ask for directions?). Whoever he is, wherever you are I know that you are the one God made for me. My wish is that you know that I am excited to spend the rest of my life with someone who will be my best friend, my rock in the storm, my forever.
My twenty-third wish is a special one. My wish is that when I begin to forget that God is always with me, may he give me that gentle nudge, that whisper in my ear, that hand on my shoulder that says "I am here. I've got you." When I feel impatient, or worried, or feel like I need to fix something, may I be reminded that the holy spirit doesn't need my help.
My twenty-fourth wish is for me. Just for me. And it is the exact wish I had last year. May I be inspired daily by the things around me. May I learn to be comfortable with who I am and to love it. May I learn to open up, trust more, love deeper and take chances. I wish for a year full of love, discovery, acceptance, faith, hope, growing faith and big dreams. May I experience my life to the fullest. May I never fear what is just over the horizon. May I not stress about the little things. May the concern about money, jobs, cars and the like rule my life. Above all, may I never forget the things that matter most.