Editorial Notebooks

Reflecting on past wishes

My laptop has gotten a lot of wear and tear in the last four years; some pieces are starting to crack off, and it’s not as fast as it used to be. Recently, I’ve noticed my “C” key sticks. I usually need to hit it extra-hard for the letter c to be included in any word. So, in a fit of frustration, I decided to take apart my keyboard and clean out whatever dust was probably causing the problem.

Dust turned out to be the smallest part of the problem, once I’d stripped my keyboard bare. Other than some cat hair from my cat at home, I discovered that the space underneath my laptop’s keyboard was apparently where all my errant eyelashes went to die, once they were detached from my eyelids. The whole time, I’d been sitting on a small mountain of unused wishes.

Did you ever make an eyelash wish when you were a kid? I wouldn’t say I’m superstitious, but I was always big on wishes; dandelions, shooting stars, wishbones, birthday candles, you name it. Of all those options, eyelash wishes are probably the most sustainable way to wish. If an eyelash falls out, you carefully brush it onto your hand and blow it away, sending your deepest hopes and dreams with it.

So I did what anyone would do, given the circumstances: I took that stash of wishes and used them all up. One puff of air, and wishes flew from my fingertips in a dozen directions. Zap, like a genie. My wishes covered every topic I could think of, with subjects ranging from myself to my family and friends, and anything else I could think of.

But the thing with wishes is that, unlike other forms of magic, there’s no real deadline or such thing as guaranteed success. When you watch dandelion seeds blow away on the wind, the only guarantee you really have is, eventually, more dandelion weeds. So it’s kind of up to you to keep working for what you want.

Some days, that can be difficult. Today, for example, I came to the realization that the things I’ve been putting my time and energy into aren’t what I want to do with my life. I may enjoy creating artwork and interactive projects, but I love writing a lot more. I love languages. I want to live and work in an environment where switching languages isn’t a big deal at all.

But the second thing about wishes is that you really can’t wish that something never happened. There’s no way to rewrite your past, no matter how good that sounds. When I was a kid, I’d never have wasted a wish on hoping something bad happens to me so I could gain life experience. (Who would, anyway?)

Now, however, because I’ve had negative experiences, I’ve grown to appreciate the positive ones even more. Because I’ve experienced bullying, I’ve realized how important friends really are. Because I’ve been faced with my own weaknesses, I can understand others’ better. And, truthfully? That’s more than magical enough for me.

Anyway, I’d like to report that all my eyelash wishes came true, or that my final lab report was fully prepared when I woke up this morning, I had kittens to play with, and I suddenly came into possession of a fairly large sum of money to start paying back my loans. But the fact is, I’m still waiting. And my laptop may be thoroughly de-dusted, but the letter “C” key still sticks.