Sunday, December 2, 2012


The phrase "I wish I..." comes to mind today, and everyday, really.

From as early as I can remember, "I wish I..." followed by a hopeful but wistful desire for something usually way beyond my reach was the first thing that would come to mind at the sight or thought of almost anything I perceived to be good or desirable or fascinating.

I wish I...

...could walk on the clouds. I wish I could touch a star. I wish I could fly to the moon. I wish I could have a brown pony and feed it carrots and apples and sugar cubes. I wish I could brush its hair. I wish I had silky, straight hair down to my waist. I wish I were better at hop scotch. I wish I could have that pink taffeta lace dress. I wish I could catch his attention. I wish I were sixteen....

And I'll stop there because as we get older the wishes seem to grow more and more questionable, intolerable, silly. They aren't in any way cute, but embarrassing confessions of stunted growth, unfulfilled desires, and lack of ambition or focus or both. Wishful thinking comes naturally to us during childhood, but an adult's wishful thinking draws sympathy or skepticism, and an internal voice that says "just do something--ONE thing--well and get over yourself."

Which brings me to the concept of an outlet. This came up in conversation twice yesterday. The first revolving around why it is that I am compelled to write in this blog, and feel pressure to hurry up and just get one post in before the month slips by, because it is nothing if not self serving. My partner responded that it is my outlet for expression. Hmmm...expression.... What is expression but unfulfilled desires manifest in the act of yearning? It seems to me a lot like adult wishful thinking. In the other instance a friend told me over dinner that she was planning a shopping trip to the outlets. I loved that. There's an outlet in the act of writing for expression and rumination. Then there's "the outlets" for shopping--and bargain shopping at that. Outlet stores are the temporary homes of overruns, unsold styles from last season, slightly ill-fitting or badly tailored runts of the pack. Those dresses, coats, shirts, pants, shoes, socks, belts, underwear, earrings, and ties that didn't make the cut, are on the fringes, castaways, and--lucky for us--bargain buys!

I just discovered via The New York Times the brilliant Maria Popova's Brain Pickings. Hours pouring over it and listening to TED talks and commencement speeches and list after list of inspirational wisdom was the motivation for this post, for sure. The one takeaway message: Do what you love to do. The second takeaway message: Create. And the third, like Madonna said so well: Express Yourself. Like most thirty-somethings who every two years or so tries to come to grips with our life's purpose, I am finding that in a small way this blog is like a piece in the puzzle of a life full of wishful thinking. It is an outlet for those castaway thoughts that don't make it into my day to day functions as an adult attempting to play the role of a responsible, assured adult. I like the idea that even if these thoughts are half-formed, half-baked, not altogether wholly presentable in a legitimate, sophisticated way, there's a little space for them. A temporary home where they patiently, hopefully await a new owner.

(Photo: At my desk, George Sweaters lambswool cashmere finish sweater with beaded details made in Hong Kong, bought at the Alameda Antique Fair.)