starlight

Isn’t it funny, the multitude of ways in which we are encouraged to make wishes…

We make wishes when we blow out birthday candles, and when we blow away the seeds of dandelions. I believe the general idea is that if you get all the candles, or all the seeds, in one go, then your wish is supposed to come true. We also make wishes on stars, be they shooting stars or first stars. And there’s always the traditional wishing wells/ponds/fountains. All of these I learnt about, and participated in, in my childhood.

I went along with the candles thing for as long as I had birthday cakes with candles (I’ve found that after a certain age, people tend not to bother with candles anymore; never too old for cake though), and went along with the dandelion thing until I outgrew picking dandelions (i.e. did not spend as much time poking around in the garden as I got older and discovered technology or something…?)

I’ve only ever seen a shooting star once (is that an ok number for someone living in a big city? Is there an average for this sort of thing?) but I probably really abused the whole “first star I see tonight” thing when I was a kid, so that probably balances out in some way…

In high school, I learnt about making wishes on eyelashes, and even though it’s obviously ridiculous (pretty much like every other thing we make wishes on), I will admit to continuing this practice to this very day. I mean, I tend to notice when I lose an eyelash because they tend to end up in my eye, or poking into my eye, so it kind of makes the whole experience of getting it out of my eye less inconvenient if I get a wish out of it, right?

Sometimes I don’t bother – I’ll get the eyelash off, and just flick it away, and get on with my life – but out of everything, it’s the only one I still go through with from time to time. Well, if you give me some candles on a cake on my birthday, I’ll probably still make a wish; but I’m too stingy for wishing wells, I don’t have much luck with finding shooting stars, and I feel kind of silly picking dandelions or chanting that “starlight, star bright” thing.

I suppose I also feel like it’s not good to have too many wishes. There must be a reason genies limit you to just three.

At some stage of my childhood, I think I either realised that the whole wish system was a bogus way of getting one’s hopes up, or I just realised that I was being too ambitious with my wishes. Maybe both. Eventually I toned down my wishes to more realistic or simple things – more probable things. As time went on, I moved the focus to other people – I would no longer make selfish wishes, but would try to wish good on others. This was probably an attempt to absolve some of the guilt that came with realising that I was abusing the system.

Isn’t it still rather bizarre, though, this whole concept of making a wish? It’s one thing to express a hope or desire for something to happen, but to actually make a wish is another thing altogether. I suppose it’s harmless enough (since it’s not like things are going to come true purely based on a wish, right? Sorry to be so skeptical…) and it kind of gives people a chance to consider what’s important to them (?)

Why do I feel like I’m arguing against myself here?

Am I ever going to outgrow this eyelash thing? It’s not that I think it’s childish or naive to superstitiously make wishes, but the really logical part of my brain is kind of stomping around, flipping tables here.

Well, if nothing else, blogging has taught me that you’re never alone in your weirdness, so I’m sure there are others out there – full-grown adults, maybe even some who are older and wiser than me – who still make wishes, and perhaps even struggle with the idea of doing something so illogical. But we couldn’t say that it’s meaningless or pointless, right?

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8 thoughts on “starlight

  1. I use those wish prompts as prayer reminders. I don’t know that I can intelligently explain the differences between a prayer and a wish just now, but there are differences.

    Tangentially, I’m not a superstitious person as a rule, but I can’t stop throwing salt over my shoulder. When I have too much in my hand, over it goes. 🙂

    • Isn’t it bizarre the sort of habits we pick up and never grow out of? I used to throw salt over my shoulder as well, but don’t think I’ve done that in a while…

      I think I can kind of understand what you mean about there being differences between prayers and wishes. Profound differences, even

  2. I actually feel guilty not making a wish when a wish-opportunity comes up. I don’t really understand why. It feels like maybe there are wish-starved people out there just waiting (but not wishing, obviously) for their eyelashes to fall out and my refusal to make the most of my plentiful wish-opportunities is somehow a slap in the face to them. Or maybe it’s that being too rushed to make a wish, or not knowing what to hope for, doesn’t quite feel like who I want to be.

      • So I’ve kept thinking about this and why I feel this way, and there’s a chance I will write a blog-story about my wish-guilt thing. Probably ages from now because I tend to stockpile ideas. And also because it wouldn’t just be about wishes, it would be about wishes and depression. I try and keep the heavy stuff spaced out.

        It sort of feels like I’m asking permission, but I’m not sure that’s what I should be doing because it’s not like I’m planning to steal your idea. You inspired me to think things, and those things might be a new idea on the same topic. But I guess I still I wanted to let you know and to make sure we’re cool if I do in fact write/draw this.

        • Of course we’re cool if you write/draw this! After all, part of blogging is sharing stories/experiences, and starting conversations.
          Also, I am seriously amazed that something I wrote could have such an impact on anyone, or be so thought-provoking. Looking forward to seeing where you go with this 😉

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