Twenty wishes

I was in the mood tonight for some feel-good fiction. I chose a book that’s been sitting on my to-be-read shelf for quite some time and discovered that it had a deeper message for me than I was expecting. The book I chose was Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber. The basic premise of the novel is that a group of four widows gets together one Valentine’s Day and wind up deciding to each make a list of twenty wishes of things they want to have or experience in life as a means of helping them move beyond their grief. Not only do the four women wind up changing a great deal through the process of making the lists and working toward their wishes, they also inspire people around them to try to the same exercise whenever people hear about their idea.

I came away from the book inspired by the idea of making my own list of twenty wishes. The only stipulation the women in the book made about their wishes was that the wishes could not be things they thought they “should” do (like exercise more or go to the dentist). These wishes were about adding joy and possibility to life, not doing chores.

Some of the wishes that the women in the book came up with were things like buying a pair of red cowboy boots, learning how to belly dance, taking a trip to Paris, and learning to knit. In each case, the woman who added these things to her list was reconnecting to something she had wanted to do for a long time and had just never made the time for.

One thing that struck me about this process is that most of the women needed time to develop their list. Most of them had gotten so out of touch with their heart’s true desires that it took a bit of excavation to come up with twenty wishes to add to their list. As I think about making my own list of twenty wishes, I am finding the same thing to be true for myself. It’s easy to come up with lists of things I “should” do: clean out clutter, file my piles of paperwork, do more business building and planning, clean out my garage … and, of course, get more exercise and go to the dentist. But wishes? Those are harder.

I can come up with a few right off the top of my head, but my gremlins quickly slow me down with worries about “being practical.” But although I know this was fiction, I was really inspired by seeing how the process of making the list made each of these women more open to finding chances to fulfill their wishes and how the process of achieving their wishes built excitement and confidence into their lives. I can easily imagine this working the same way for me in real life.

So I plan to start my list and see where this takes me. What about you? Are you willing to give it a shot? What would your list of twenty wishes be?

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