Friday, June 18, 2010

The Wish List

A few years ago, I started compiling wish lists. I don't mean the kind of wish list. I mean writing down everything I want: from big things, like a publishing contract, to little things, like a sunset walk on the beach. Some of the things that go on my wish list are concrete things that can be purchased, but most aren't.
I created my first wish list because my husband is terrible at buying presents. One year he bought me a basketball hoop. I don't play basketball, but he does. Another year he gave me a Nintendo DS with a copy of Brain Age. This, of course, sends the message that he thinks I'm going senile. Or that I might like to play any of the games that were available for the DS at the time, which I did not. (The first DS game I actually liked was Professor Layton.) The Nintendo DS went the same way at the basketball hoop, meaning my husband played with it and eventually gave it to our son. And then there was the year we vacationed in Boston on my birthday . . . with his mother. When we wanted to take a water taxi, she insisted on taking the train. She ordered food she didn't like just so she could refuse to eat and then complained for hours about it. Who wouldn't want that for their birthday?
So I wrote my first wish list and stuck it up on the fridge with magnets. My husband liked the idea. He says I never tell him what I want, but the truth is I tell him all the time--I just about hammer him with what I want--but he doesn't listen. He tried to give me a few of the things on that list, the best one being some time alone to write, go shopping, take baths, and so on without being disturbed by the kids. It was a few weeks after my birthday, but it was the best birthday present he ever gave me. I stood in Kohl's and started to panic. Didn't I have to be at home to meet the kids when they got off their school buses? Then I realized I didn't. I could actually buy myself some clothes without someone telling me, "I'm so bored. This is torture. Can we go now?" I could spend as much time as I wanted picking outfits, trying them on, and buying only the ones I liked that fit. Wow! 
When you wish upon a wish list, your dreams really do come true. Well, maybe not all of them. I'm still wishing for that ever-elusive book contract. It keeps going from wish list to wish list, but hopefully someday soon that wish will also be answered.  
So at the beginning of this summer, we sat down as a family and wrote a wish list together: "Our Summer of Wishes, 2010." Every wish we could think of was put down on it, from the mundane (4. Get passports renewed) to the altruistic (28. Teach a class at the library--Shevi) to the highly unlikely (3. Win lottery) to the downright impossible (48. Get super powers). There were 88 things on the original list we made that day, but my husband has since added 89 (Driving license--Shevi) and 90 (Become an American--Gidon). We've already made a few of our wishes come true, and we're crossing them off the list with a highlighter marker. This way we'll have something to aim for every day, and at the end of the summer we'll be able to look back at all the great wishes we made come true.
Psychologists once conducted a study that showed you're more likely to accomplish a goal if you write it down. That's the power of the wish list. Go ahead, and use it! Put "Wish list" at the top of a page and then write down all your wishes, from the most mundane to the impossible. Then put that wish list somewhere you'll see it every day. Then start making your dreams come true.
What would be the first three things on your wish list?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Neil Simon on writer's block

"Some people misinterpret what writer's block is. They assume you can't think of a single thing. Not true. You can think of hundreds of things. You just don't like any of them. And what you like, you don't trust."

~from Rewrites by Neil Simon.