Tuesday, January 08, 2013

A Wish is a Dream Your Heart Has


I have a university education. I have a reasonable grasp of statistics, probability, causality, and reality. I'm a little ashamed to admit that despite all this, I am a remarkably superstitious person.

Don't be thinking I'm one of those strange creepy folks who doesn't change undies and refuses to shave during the playoff season. I always smell lovely and my legs are only furry when it's winter and I need the warmth. I just like to participate in silly little rituals that are supposed to being me good luck, despite knowing better.

I don't buy into bad luck omens. Black cats are adorable and as good for petting as any other kitty, and spilled salt is just a mess on the counter and a sad waste of seasoning power. But I don't dare laugh in the face of possible good luck and miss out on anything fun by ignoring lucky charms or mocking good-luck rites.

I pick up pennies. I poke at the lawn and count leaves on clovers. I have a beckoning cat figurine in the kitchen to bring us prosperity. More importantly than all these, I make wishes. So many wishes. I eagerly use birthday candles, coins in fountains, and wishbones as vehicles to get my wishes out in the world where they have a chance at coming true. There's also the game of touching something blue when all the numbers on the clock are the same (with bonus extra wish strength when it's 11:11), and wishing under a train bridge while a train is whizzing by overhead. A folded chip, a stray eyelash, a white fluffy dandelion - wish, wish, wish!

Lucky Cat looking for a high-five

Somewhere along the way, I became very particular about my wishes, wording them very carefully to avoid a Monkey's Paw situation where the wish comes true with a horrible twist. Sure, I'll be a millionaire after the accident settlement, but I'll be a vegetable and never get a chance to swim in my new money bin. To avoid any sneaky loopholes like that, my wishes end up sounding like the fine print in contest rules, so I need to have them thought out and ready ahead of time, or I may panic and flub my chance when a wish opportunity arrives.

Of course, there's not really any such thing as luck, good or bad. I know that the world rolls on thanks to chemistry and physics and biology, and tossing a penny down a well isn't going to affect the course of my life in a tangible way. It's worth doing, though, because it gives me hope. As long as I'm wishing, it means I have something to wish for. If I ever reach a point when I can't even think up a wish for the morning star, it will mean I'm too depressed to even hope for better, and that will be a dark day. Playing the little wishing games, looking for four-leaf clovers; good-luck rites give me the feeling that maybe if I hope enough and collect enough good in my life, then I'll have a little bit of control over the uncontrollable. Because in the end, all I can control is myself and my attitude. Looking for the lucky things is like looking for the good in the world, and that has to be a good philosophy.


Linking up with the writers who blog and bloggers who write at Yeah Write.

19 comments:

  1. There's nothing wrong with wishing and dreaming. It gives me hope and that feeling that good things are just around the corner.

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  2. I do the same thing - I make wishes all the time (and try to be fairly specific about them). I mean when it's 11:11, YOU JUST NEVER KNOW.

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    1. Right?!? Of course, it's totally cheating if you notice it's 11:09 and decide to sit there and stare at the clock for two minutes.

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  3. I had forgotten about the folded chip! I completely agree with you: wishing keeps your spirits up, and allows you to keep some innocent optimism alive. I think things like superstition and faith can be good for the soul, so long as they bring you hope and comfort and aren't being used to justify evil deeds, or prevent you from living a productive life.

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    1. I think I may need to drop the chip one - the last bag of chips had way too many folded ones! It makes it like wishing on THREE-leafed clovers!

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  4. I pick up pennies too! I even blogged about it awhile back. I don't think I'd call you superstitious :)

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  5. Wishing and hoping are lovely ways to spend your time. Far better than complaining and despairing (as I have been lately).

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  6. I also fear "sneaky loopholes" and make my wishes ironclad and foolproof to avoid any destiny fuck ups. Adorable tendencies both! ;-)

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    1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one!

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  7. Very interesting! There is nothing wrong with tossing your hopes and dreams, fears and insecurities out into the universe (whether through good luck charms, superstitions, prayer, etc.). Perhaps superstitions don't work (or prayer for that matter), but the act of participating in the superstition can be incredibly liberating, empowering, and hopeful.

    I don't have a lot of superstitions, but I do believe that I have the ability to jinx things. Like if I think something good will happen, it certainly won't. By the same token, I think that if I fear the worst, I can ward off bad things. How silly is that?!?!

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    1. I didn't really think about jinxing things, but now that you mention it, I do touch wood after saying I hope something happens. I don't think it's silly!

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  8. " Looking for the lucky things is like looking for the good in the world." What a great thought. I used to be terribly superstitious. Reading your post, I could identify with lots. I think the older I get I'm much less so. Though I can't pass on reading the fortune in the cookie.

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  9. I make lots of wishes too! 11:11, eyelash, shooting star, all the usual ones. I think it's a sign of fun and optimism :)

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  10. "I need the warmth" - haha! I got married on a Friday the 13th, so that tells you how superstitious I am. Some of my friends/family were quite horrified.

    Glad you put a GFC icon up - that's the reading list I look at first and I don't want to miss your posts.

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    1. I would have played that wedding date up SO MUCH. Black cats on the invites and everything. My family would also be horrified, I think. :)

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  11. "I know that the world rolls on thanks to chemistry and physics and biology, and tossing a penny down a well isn't going to affect the course of my life in a tangible way. It's worth doing, though, because it gives me hope. As long as I'm wishing, it means I have something to wish for." Yes! Great lines! So true. Wishing and hoping is always a good thing if only for the sake of morale.

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  12. I think I need to make more wishes.

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  13. I like to think that there are lucky omens out there! I once found a four-leaf clover...and my life has turned out pretty well. :D

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  14. Oh my, my long-lost twin! I'm a wisher, too, but I never thought about the philosophical implications of being so. Holding my breath through tunnels, blowing out candles on birthday cakes, you name it, I wish on it, hoping for a better tomorrow.

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