If I Had 3 Wishes
As often as I have heard that expression, starting with my childhood, I have never been able to provide an answer. The inquiry is simple and innocuous enough, “what would you ask for, if you had three wishes?” Perhaps it was the recognition that such rhetorical questions are whimsical and not magical exhortations. Despite how many people around me might have obligingly provided the three wishes, it seems that their wishes were never fulfilled. Not in the long term; and certainly not immediately, except for trivial things. So merely asking the question of someone is to invite them to participate in fantasy. Is there really any grand purpose that is served?
Indeed, many people will readily offer their ideas, but to what end? The trivial pursuit might sound something like this: “I wish for an ice cream cone right now because it’s 95 degrees”; and, “I wish that the ice cream shop had those waffle cones like they had back home.” “And I wish that a double cone didn’t cost so much.” Those are indeed trivial wishes and hardly worth investing in researching and cataloging the answers; or assigning societal value to them.
On a grander scale, should we champion the person who boldly wishes for world peace? And the end of hunger? And happiness for all creatures, at all times? Noble ideas all, to be sure; but the person who merely wishes for something that is beyond their direct control is doing so gratuitously. Better that we limit our wishes to something we can accomplish ourselves. But the gratification is in the doing, not in the wishing. Let him who would move the world, first move himself.
In the words of a popular song, “love what you have, not what you want.” If you wish for something, keep it to yourself, and work to see it happen. Otherwise, you are letting yourself succumb to a fairy tale game that has neither bounds nor significance. And the occasional wish that does come true is almost always beyond your mere pronouncements. We sometimes make our wishes come true, but it is the action of striving and not the mere wishing that makes for the reality.