On any given day, approximately 800,000 people in the United States will celebrate their birthday. When we are young, we sit with a birthday cake before us, surrounded by friends and families and we make a wish to blow out the lit candles marking our years.
In any given year, many of these wishes bear some semblance to one another despite the diversity of the wish makers. We wish for things or experiences that will bring us joy. In some years, like this one, we may wish more often for things or experiences that will take away our pain and suffering.
It is a misguided superstition that after we close our eyes and make our wishes, we are not to tell anyone what we have just wished for – out of fear that this will make it less likely they will come true.
Yet doesn’t telling others our wishes actually empower people – our family, friends, loved ones, even strangers – to grant them?
I have always been one to keep my own wishes tight to my vest. Fearing they may sound selfish while also safeguarding my disappointment when they aren’t realized.
Perhaps this is compounded by the fact that my birthday is on Christmas,
I’m envious of those who let their wishes be known widely. Recently a friend referred to those people as “fearless askers.” I’m guessing they get more of what they want than us “wishful thinkers.”
In the spirit of being a fearless asker, of letting my own birthday wishes be known, I humbly offer the following for anyone looking to grant me a birthday wish this year:
I wish you would buy one of these t-shirts to raise money for my non-profit.
I wish you would pre-order a copy of my children’s book, Three Little Engines, coming out next year.
I wish you would share this email with your friends and family, encouraging them to subscribe.
I wish more people would support these organizations helping people try to move up in life.
In the scheme of things this list may seem trivial. Of course, I have more meaningful wishes.
I wish my children could see their grandparents, I wish I could hug my mom. I wish I could have a date night with my wife. I wish my best friend didn’t have cancer. I wish my friends weren’t spending the holidays without a loved one who has passed this year. I wish the pandemic was behind us. I wish people weren’t suffering. I wish more people were doing their jobs to end that suffering. I wish we weren’t as divided as a country. I wish, I wish, I wish.
The reality, though, is that there is little that you or I can do to make those wishes come true right now.
Which brings me back to my original list above. I write this weekly note and create other similar content because it makes me feel good to put something positive out into the world. The feedback I get mostly tells me that others find it helpful. Particularly in challenging times. So I hope you would find it natural that I would want it shared more widely.
One nice thing about being born on Christmas is that, for millions more, it is a day of wishes made, granted and received.
So may you and yours speak your wishes loudly while also granting them to as many others as you can.
Wishing you a happy and wonderful holiday.