How well I remember when I first became aware of the concept of wishful thinking. It was 1965 and my best friend received one of the first Barbies with bendable legs for her birthday. One afternoon she left her bendable Barbie at my house and I spent the remainder of the day bending Barbie’s legs back and forth, back and forth, back and–well, you get the idea. I was having a very good time until suddenly one of Barbie’s legs made a funny popping noise and stopped bending in any direction at all.
My eyes widened and panic filled my heart as I realized what I had done. I’d broken one of Barbie’s bendable legs and my best friend was going to hate me forever! Thinking quickly, I went to the front hall closet where I buried Barbie underneath a pile of knitted ski caps and mismatched mittens. Surely if I left her there long enough–say a month or so–her leg would heal on its own. Wasn’t that what happened to people when they broke a leg? Wishful thinking had arrived full blast inside my kindergarten mind and I went to bed that night not feeling guilty over having broken my best friend’s doll but relieved that I’d figured out a way to make everything all right again.
Needless to say, my little bubble was popped within a few days when my friend returned for her doll and I was forced to ‘fess up not only what I had done but where I’d hidden my victim. Barbie was retrieved, her broken leg still dangling quite horribly, and my allowance, which up to that point hadn’t existed, was created and taken away from me all in one fell swoop. So I learned at the tender age of five that wishful thinking is a nice Band-aid when you want to get a good night’s sleep but in the long run it’s about as useful as steak sauce at a vegan convention.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the years between age five and the present haven’t been jam packed with plenty of wishful thinking. Some of my favorites have included believing that:
- That new $50 moisturizer really will erase 20 years overnight.
- If I eat when I’m not really hungry, the calories in a piece of lemon meringue pie/bacon cheeseburger/bag of potato chips will not register. Anywhere. Ever.
- Red wine and V8 juice are pretty much the same thing, especially when disguised in a coffee mug.
I have obviously morphed into something beyond a wishful thinker that is more along the lines of full-blown delusionist, if such a word existed, and that is A-OK with me because when all is said and done, I’d rather be a full-blown delusionist instead of a frustrated calorie counter any day of the week.
Wishful thinking has been on my mind a lot this week because of the biggest, strongest wishful thinking lure of them all: yet another enormous lottery jackpot is up for grabs and it has me thinking so wishfully (as well as wistfully) that I’ve been constantly entertaining the biggest delusionist thinking of them all–THIS is the week I will finally win the lottery and will be able to buy every single bendable Barbie currently on eBay in addition to retiring immediately from absolutely everything, including work, cleaning any bathroom ever and social media.
Truly, I don’t see anything wrong with a little wishful thinking as long as you recognize and accept somewhere in the deepest depths of your psyche that you are, as your grandmother used to say, only fooling yourself which is way nicer than fooling your neighbor, your spouse or your dog. That said, I’m very happy to remember that even if I don’t win the lottery this week, there’s always next weekend…