Announcing: The 20 Wishes Idea

Twenty Wishes book (photo by Paul Kennar)

Do you ever feel stuck?  Like each day sort of just creeps into the next.

Do you ever feel lost?  Like you’re not quite sure what you’re doing or why you’re doing it. 

Do you ever feel like you’re in search of a spark?  Like there’s something out there, waiting for you, and if you could find it your whole life would experience a domino-effect of positive consequences.

I do.  Sometimes.  Sometimes it’s because I’m 43 years old, and my body feels much older and weaker than my chronological age.  Sometimes it’s because I miss my teaching career.  

Which is why I enjoyed the last fiction book I read, Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes.  

The title is based on the premise of the novel.  A group of women each decide to create a list – “an inventory of wishes.”  Not practical to-do items, but “twenty dreams written down.”  Each woman had a different list of “wishes and hopes for the future.”  One character wanted to learn to belly dance.  Another character bought herself a convertible.  Still another desired a pair of red cowboy boots.

While reading about these women and their wishes, I thought about what would be on my list of wishes.

– Visit my pen pal, Aya, in Japan.

– Travel to Paris with my husband and son.

– Drive a convertible – with the top down.

– Go for a gondola ride in Venice, Italy.

– Explore the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

– Sightsee in New York including stops at the Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building.

 

Writing my own list is more difficult than I thought it would be.  As one character so aptly stated, “Sometimes I think we’re afraid to admit we want certain things.  Especially things that contradict the image we have of ourselves.”  

I’m still working on my list.  Most of my items have to do with travel, and it’s not so easy for me to just pack up and go.  So I need to work on creating a list that also includes items that are more easily achieved here in Los Angeles (and not as expensive as traveling to Japan). 

Meanwhile, those are mine.  Readers, I’d love to read your wishes.  Feel free to share in the comments section.  

 

 

Here’s Why Invisibility Isn’t Always a Super Power 

My son and I playing handball. Disabilities don’t all look the same.

Close your eyes for a moment and picture a disabled person.  Keep that image in mind.  

What does she look like?  

How does she behave?  

What can she do?  

What can’t she do?  

What does she need help with?

 

Now, tell me if these descriptions match the picture in your imagination:

A woman and her son ride their bikes in their neighborhood.

A woman spends 30 minutes in her garden, weeding, pruning her bougainvillea vine, re-arranging large pots, and then sweeping up the mess she made on the sidewalk.

A woman goes for a leisurely walk in her neighborhood, bending over to smell a light pink rose, stopping to admire a butterfly that is perched on a leaf.

A woman sees her ninety-year-old neighbor arrive home in an Uber.  Her neighbor struggles to hang the grocery bags from her walker.  The woman goes across the street, and carries the bags for her neighbor, helps her neighbor into her house, and brings each bag into her neighbor’s kitchen.

 

What if I told you the woman above was me.  And what if I told you that according to the state of California, I am also a disabled woman.  Do my actions match the mental image you had?

Probably not.  Most people have a very limited idea of what a disabled person looks like.  I know I used to.

Which brings me to my newest essay.  Last week, The Mighty published my personal essay “Why ‘Invisibility’ Is Not a Superpower When It Comes to Illness.”  You can click here to read it. 

And remember, just because you can’t see someone’s pain, doesn’t mean they aren’t hurting.