It's a beautiful thought when we are young. Sitting, looking at the stick of wax and flame and then closing your eyes. Thinking of something you really want and blowing out that flame... your wish, comes true.
Many wishes are similar to those from last year, some are exactly the same. So today, on the eve of my 26th birthday I sit down and create a list of my wishes for the next year.
My first wish is for my family. Life this year has been hard. Really really hard. For my wonderful parents, my sweet little brother, my crazy aunts and uncles, my terrific grandmother and Oma. My wish for them is that whatever comes our way this year, that we stay together. We remember who we are. May they have a year of life, love, and togetherness.
My second wish is for my friends. For the Musketeers who on this very day surprised me. And do it over and over again. This D'Artagnan would be very different without Athos, Porthos and Aramis. May they know how much I appreciate all they are teaching me about what friendship is. About who I am and what my life will be. Without their humor, support, and company my life would be very different. May Athos have a wonderful second year as a mother, as she awaits the arrival of her second child. May she know that she and her family are loved, and supported. May Aramis have another year of health, another year of wonderful changes in her life and the knowledge that she is supported in everything she takes on. May Porthos realize just how much her friendship has meant over the last year. I've called, and she's been there. May she have a year of success and of achievement. And for Ms. CK, who has been through a lot this past year. May she know how great it has been to have her as my best friend for the last six years. Outside of my family this friend has been with me the longest... through thick and thin, through the bouts of depression and the rebounds of joy. Through the struggles, the achievements, the next steps in life she has been there. May she know a year of joy, of continued happiness in her new relationship. May she know that she is valued for who she is, not who others may want her to be.
My third wish is for all those who struggle under the weight of depression. May you never feel that it's a dirty little secret you have to hide. It's not something that you did. It's not a snap your fingers and your better. May you know that you are not alone. May you find a person with whom you can open up and be honest. On the bad and the good days. May you find someone who will sit with you in the dark with a flashlight when your own has gone out. May you find the light... even if it's just a small sliver of it through the thick curtains of doubts.
My fourth wish is for all the girls around the world. You are born without doubts, without self-consciousness, without prejudice, without judgement in your bones. May you remember and hold onto the fact that you are you and that is perfection. You don't need to change who you are to find community, family and love.
My fifth wish is for all the children. My wish for you is that you are able to be a child for as long as possible. That you can wear pajamas all day and not care a bit, that you splash in every puddle you find, that the giggles keep coming, and create beautiful finger paint masterpieces. May you not have to grow up too soon. May you have a childhood full of love. At some point we must all grow up, but now is not your time.
My sixth wish is for all those affected by bullying. May those who are bullied know it is not their fault. May the bystanders stand up for what they know is right. May the bullies realize that putting other people down, doesn't make you better, it makes you less.
My seventh wish is for all of the teachers who are wrapping up the school year. May your summers be one of rest and relaxation. As the year ends may you look back with fondness, even if the year was tough. My wish is that you know how very important you are, even if no one ever tells you. You can so often be that one person that makes a difference in the life of a child.
My eighth wish is for all of the writers, whether it is of a blog or a book. Those who provide encouragement, challenges, who provoke our thoughts, ignite our passions, spark our dreams and ground us in life. May you know how much your work brings to others. May you continue to be blessed with the gifts of words, of stories, of openness. May you find the sort of inspiration that readers find in you.
My ninth wish is for those who are affected by the monster who goes by Alzheimers or Parkinsons. May you know you are not alone in the fight. May you remember the good times without avoiding the bad. May you find a support for yourself as you support your family.
My tenth wish is for anyone who wears a mask. My wish is that you find someone, anyone, that you can take off that mask around. Start small. Trust just a little. It's worth it. May you become comfortable without your mask. May we learn that the mask, while it feels safe, doesn't let people meet the real you.
My eleventh wish is for all of those who have felt the sting of rejection, the grief of a dream not realized, the disappointment of a wish not fulfilled. May you not give up. May you continue to dream, to try to wish. May you have hope and faith that dreams and wishes can come true.
My twelfth wish is for those who seek perfection. Those who miss out because you can't step off the path. Those who plan every detail with no room for the random. While it's hard to do, may you try to take a path from A to R to D to F to M to Z, rather than just A to Z. The zigzags of life can provide some of the best moments, memories and lessons.
My thirteenth wish is for those who feel alone. No matter how many times someone says, you are not alone, it's sometimes still hard to feel that way. My wish is that at some point soon you believe it... "you are NOT alone." You find people to surround yourself with and ways to connect.
My fourteenth wish is for the dreamers. What would be we do without you? My wish is that you keep dreaming. And when something blocks your way, or you choose another path, never regret your dreams, achieved or not. May you continue dreaming through the heartbreak. Because someday your dreams will come true!
My fifteenth wish are for those who are trying to find themselves. Those trying to figure out who "me" is. It's hard, hard to know who you are supposed to be. Who you want to be. It's not something you can google. It's not something that you can punch into a GPS or look up on a map. It's hard. Really really hard. I have to think it's not something we can discover instantly. May you continue to try, may you take the time to listen to your gut, to your heart.
My sixteenth wish is for anyone, who like me, fears. Let the fear challenge you. Push you. Encourage you.
My seventeenth wish is for my students. Especially my students this year. May you realize that you are cared for even if you don't feel like it. You are smart even if you don't realize it. And you are valuable even if you don't know it yet. Life is long and it's hard. May you learn when to speak, and when silence is the answer (sometimes it's not good to tell the teacher everything that everyone else is doing). May you discover the value of respect. Respecting yourself. Other people. Your environment.
My eighteenth wish is for the graduating classes of 2013. Whether your graduating from high school or college there is so much life ahead of you. Life is just beginning a new chapter. May you remember that there are an exorbitant amount of chapters in your book. Some are mysterious. Some are humorous while others are tragic. But there are many of them that when weaved together make a story. Your story. Just take the time to get there.
My nineteenth wish is for all those who are trying. Trying to start over. Trying to be happier, be stronger be healthier. May you keep trying until you get there. Where you want to be. May your efforts be rewarded. And if for some reason you can't do it, may you find something else you can do, and try to do it with all the oomph you have in you.
My twentieth wish is for all those who for for the betterment of others. My wish is that you know the value of what you do and who you are. May you find the support to keep going, that the passion doesn't die and that you find fulfillment in your work.
My twenty-first wish is that we all, every single one of us, experience failure at some point in our lives. Failure challenges us. Pushes us. Helps us grow. It is in failure that we realize how strong we are. It is in failure that we find a way to succeed. It is in failure that we learn more about ourselves.
My twenty-second wish is for all of us. May we always remember the sunset. Life can be full. Full of little. Full of random. Full of to-dos and never-can-dos. The sun rises and sets whether we want it to or not. May you take a moment to admire the beautiful things in life. Watch the sunrise or set, stop and literally smell the flowers, listen to the birds sing, or your child laugh. May you take time to not just live for the moment... but live in the moments, make the moments. Many things in life can wait, but the sunset won't.
My twenty-third wish is for all of those people who helped me become the person that I am today. It's a phrase we often hear, "it takes a village to raise a child." There are numerous people in life who impact me, who have made me who I am today: teachers, pastors, members of my church, family friends, aunts and uncles, my parents, my brother, complete strangers. I would be a completely and utterly different person than I am today without each person I've interacted with in my life.
My twenty-fourth wish is for him. We may have met (but I doubt it). Or we may not meet for awhile. Whoever and wherever you are I know that you are that person that God made just for me. May I have patience as I wait for you and may you have patience as you wait 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-fifth wish is a special one that I've wished before. 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 vote you. I am not going anywhere. I've got you and you've got me." 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. On those days when I'm on the top of the mountain, may I remember to take a moment to take a picture and remember it is You who lead me to that place.
My twenty-sixth wish is for me and me alone. It is the exact wish I've had for the last three years. 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 see the sunshine through the clouds, the rainbow after the rain. 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 not rule my life. Above all, may I never forget those things that matter most.