Note: It’s not my birthday, and this post is a few years old, but I was poking around in the archives, found this one and thought, yes, this feels like a time to share these thoughts again…

So, dear readers, I just hit the big 5-0 a few days ago. I’ve been on the planet for half a century. Time flies. It doesn’t seem like it was all that long ago when I was a bright-eyed college student, eager to make my mark on the world. But as most of us well-seasoned folk know, life intervenes, things change, priorities rearrange, and many dreams and ambitions get relegated to dusty boxes in unused closets with creaky, unoiled doors.

Despite the unexpected baggage, much of what you were is still what you are. Some things do shift, perceptions alter, and the rigidity of convictions can soften. (At least for the decent people, I should say. The whack jobs just get crazier.) In contemplating all of this, I thought it would be interesting to capture 50 random thoughts, one for each year that I have trod the boards on this stage we call Life. I wanted to compare the fresh innocence with the road-tested reality.

The result was an interesting mix. Despite my attempts to be serious, there were intrusions of humor. (I can’t hold that beast down; it’s part of me.) Despite my attempts to be forgiving and inclusive, I had some bitter moments. (Some people are just stupid and mean; there’s no way around it.) And there are a few current flashpoints that I never would have considered, back in that college dorm. But in the end, I was somewhat surprised, but mostly pleased, to find that most of what I would have written 30 years ago is what I am still writing today.

50 wishes on my 50th birthday.



1. I wish that restaurants gave you the right amount of salad dressing the first time so you didn’t have to ask for more.

2. I wish I had learned how to say “no” a long time ago.

3. I wish more people would follow through when they say “we should do this more often”.

4. I wish everything could come with a side of bacon. Even a visit to the doctor. (“Um, could you hold my bacon while I step on the scales? Thanks.”)

5. I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life proving myself to others instead of to myself.

6. I wish that I could always remember why I walked into a room.

7. I wish I had the time to read an entire book every day. And that people who don’t read books could somehow instinctively understand that they should leave me alone.

8. I wish that hard-hearted people could empathize with the circumstances of others instead of building walls and pointing fingers.

9. I wish that I had spent more time doing instead of considering.

10. I wish that a mental workout helped you lose as many pounds as a physical workout. Of course, there are a lot of people who have never done the first, so they’ll still have to depend on the second.

11. I wish that I could master the art of creating a mean batch of sausage gravy. I apparently lack the appropriate chromosome to make this a reality.

12. I wish there was a law that prevented people who didn’t vote from bitching about the election results. You stayed at home? Well, stay there, and keep your mouth shut.

13. I wish for the day when the races are so mixed that the bigots no longer have definable targets for their skin-based hatred.

14. I wish we could get away from this “you get a medal just for showing up at the competition!” mindset. You have to lose sometimes to appreciate winning.

15. I wish that the snooze button on the alarm actually stopped time.

16. I wish food was always on the table for everyone.

17. I wish my drifting-off-to-sleep thoughts were automatically recorded to my laptop. I have the best nocturnal story ideas, which naturally dissolve by morning…

18. I wish I could spend a year in Italy. Preferably with George Clooney.

19. I wish I had learned years ago that your career does not define you.

20. I wish I had said “thank you” more often.

21. I wish that no child should ever have to wonder if they are worthy.

22. I wish that the TV Networks would go back to letting a series develop over time instead of cancelling a show three minutes after it premieres.

23. I wish that our nation can somehow quash the devastating effect of the Citizens United ruling that killed any pretense of a fair election process.

24. I wish that you could slap stupid people in public and receive a medal of honor instead of a court summons.

25. I wish for world peace, even though I realize that such a thing contradicts with the business models of many major corporations.

26. I wish that everyone has the chance to sit on a sandy beach and watch the waves roll in, with nowhere to be and no emails to answer.

27. I wish certain people understood that religion is an option in this country, not a mandate. If that annoys you, perhaps you should make plans to move. Good luck with that.

28. I wish that no one be ridiculed for their love of guacamole. We all have secret passions, and we have all eaten messy things.

29. I wish that right-wingers would actually read the Constitution and the Bible, because it’s clear that they have only flipped through the Cliff Notes version, if even that.

30. I wish the Tea Party members realized that ignorance is not a virtue. But I understand that you generally lose them when complete sentences are involved.

31. I wish more people understood that a civilized society requires respect, tolerance, compassion and benevolence. Otherwise, you might as well move back to the caves and bang on a rock.

32. I wish that people really would break into spontaneous song and dance for no apparent reason, on random street corners, just like in a movie musical. Why would you not want to live in a world like that?

33. I wish that the music industry would go back to hiring talent and not marketing concepts. And that Auto-Tune thing? Throw it in the trash.

34. I wish that the traditional publishing industry would embrace the fact that digital books are here to stay. Stop fighting it and support the authors. Our words are just as worthy on paper or in the cloud.

35. I wish that people would choose life partners based on possibility and not probability.

36. I wish that fried pickles were more respected in our society. I’m tired of the horrified looks of my dinner companions when I order.

37. I wish that I could be one of those people who never have regrets.

38. I wish that more movies were made where nothing explodes, no one dies, special effects are not required, and the characters are allowed to figure out the right thing to do and then they do it.

39. I wish the fashion industry could be based on realism and not anorexia. We are teaching our children the wrong things.

40. I wish for the day when everyone takes responsibility for their own mistakes. This will be a stunning and unfathomable concept to many.

41. I wish for the celebration of where you are going, not the stigmatization of where you have been.

42. I wish that I really could teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.

43. I wish my relatives who are racist could understand how much it turns my stomach when that filth comes out of their mouths. I love you, but sometimes I just want to walk out the door.

44. I wish that people who have never been in a particular situation were not allowed to pass judgment on people who are actually in the situation.

45. I wish that anyone who ever posts anything on the internet was required to use their real name. It’s easy to throw a brick of lies when you’re hiding behind a mask.

46. I wish that the innocent wisdom of children could trump the malignant bitterness of old men.

47. I wish for free ice cream for everyone. And affordable access to quality healthcare. There’s no valid reason why we can’t have both.

48. I wish everyone had the courage to take a deep breath and leap off the Cliff of Possible Opportunity. You may or may not succeed, but you won’t know unless you try.

49. I wish we could all be judged by our intentions and not the end result.

50. I wish that I didn’t have to make wishes that people would just be decent and kind.


Originally published in “Bonnywood Manor” on 02/06/15. (I have a vague sense that I may have posted this on another occasion, but I can’t find any notes about such, so mea culpa if I’ve lost my mind and I just shared this recently, somewhere.) No changes made other than adding the Note at the beginning.

Story behind the photo: Cancun, April 2014, sunrise, me, coffee. I sat there for hours until the rest of the hotel guests stirred…


41 replies »

  1. Brian, that’s a brilliant list and one that I agree with completely. It’s timeless. It’s been a beautiful way to start my day and will give me lots to think about as I ride my bike.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t add a single thing. It IS a wonderful list. It echoes all of my dreams (except the one with the unicorns which to be honest is probably not shareable) …. and I intend to never ever stop dreaming and neither should you.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’ve known for sometime that the people that have the most amazing sense of humor and best use of sarcasm are those who also the most insightful, perceptive, sagacious. Thank you for supporting that. 😉
    You have an empathetic heart kind sir, I adore it and your list here. If it was void of humor I’d wonder what what was wrong with the world today so I’m glad that was included. Bacon though?! Gross.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not to get too mushy, but it humbles and thrills me when I see comments like this. Despite my perpetual sarcasm, I continually hope for a better world and I constantly, fumblingly do my tiny part to get there. (And yes, I know that my bacon predilection is not a good thing. I’m trying to get away from the carnivore angle. Baby steps…)

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think #17 was my favorite. And while I really liked this post, all I can think about is what my dad said to me ALL the time as a kid when I’d say, “I wish”…he would reply, “Wish in one hand and $h*t in the other and see which one fills up quickest”. Thanks dad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My dad said the same thing. (And I think HIS dad had the slogan tattooed on his bicep, but my memories are a little vague.) Still, it doesn’t stop me. And if I can figure out a way to make #17 happen, I’ll be reaching out so you can do the beta testing… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Simply beautiful. Whatever “age” you were when it was written. Here’s one for the next list you make (I’m letting you borrow it, because it’s on MY list already) … I wish for common sense to make a come back. It’s sorely missed.

    Take care Brian (and as one of the ‘breakers’ of #45, it’s sometimes because there are ugly stalkers in the world and some of us feel forced to hide…one way or another). My ‘handle’ is as close to reality as I’m going to allow at this point. I’m more than happy to share my real identity (I sound like Bat Girl ((I don’t have the boobs to be Wonder Woman)) don’t I? ) Cheers! Great list btw!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Embeecee! I really should have been more specific with #45. It was directed towards those evil trolls who get some type of sexual gratification out of posting hate and lies on things that have been posted by others. If you’re going to do crap like that, then you should own it and identify yourself, don’t hide behind the anonymity. I fully understand about protecting your identity if you are a decent person and just want to express honest things without any nasty fallout. (I was very careful to veil my references to Verizon when I worked for them. Now? Screw ’em.) I just think the cowards who bash and run should be held accountable…


  6. #7. 😞 If it helps…when Loser would tell me about a book he had read or was reading…I paid attention. I can tell you the gist and the author and when it was written..
    You’d be amazed at how well versed I am about books…to have never read one.
    Does this mean we’re not friends anymore? 😥

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course we’re still friends. The “leave me alone” part means “don’t mess with me when I’m reading”, not “you are now banished”. Besides, you already know that most of my personal guidelines don’t really apply to you. I was enraptured with the first blog post I read of yours, so you have a lifetime membership in the inner circle… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, I had my share of the “leave me alone” thing. Most of that reading was done on the throne and we all knew you didn’t disturb Loser when he was on the potty.
        If I was leaving, he wanted a “potty kiss.”
        I HATED those potty kisses!
        PS… so glad to be in your inner circle. 😘

        Liked by 1 person

  7. The flip side of 5 is wishing you hadn’t spent so much time worrying that “they” would find out you were clueless and in way over your head. 28. I make a serious avocado/guacamole dip with just a enough low fat ranch that makes even hard core guac lovers beg for more and women so afraid of 39 they will buy their own chips. 35? There are only two kinds of people. Romantics and pragmatics The wish would be that they realize early and find their own before anyone gets hurts. 33, don’t get me started. 49 is built into the Eucharist. Nice to know the institution isn’t the people running it. Which comes back to 29. Democracy over theocracy, any day.

    A special thought about 19. We are raised to “be” something. Producers and consumers. There are “success” markers on every wall, like height markers for your birthdays on Mom’s kitchen door jamb. My wish for 19 would be that muse, and the magic of discovering who you are and how you can feel when you do discover it, and how much better a person that makes you and the people around you didn’t come with the resultant financial and social impairments. I would wish for everyone to have the courage of Monet, Wollstonecraft, Blake, Beethoven and Satie and to drive the world into a place where beauty, not greed, flourished alongside smokestacks and oil wells. Courage to be who we should be, not what we can get someone to pay us for. Slackers need not apply. But if you mean it? Do it. With everything you have.


  8. Great list and great fun to read. We only differ on #3, as I’m usually grateful there’s no follow through. 😉
    My only addition is that I’ve always felt the world would be a better place if everyone had a daily word limit for speaking. Wouldn’t that be great? People would have to conserve their words, stop participating in mindless chatter. My gosh, small talk would be a thing of the past!


  9. Your list had me alternating between laughter and nearly being moved to tears. Really, you have a gift for noting the hilarious and then reminding us to be better people.

    Re: Deep Fried Pickles – They’ve been gaining more acceptance in my part of the world, I’m happy to say. Mmmm! I could go for a batch right now.

    Re #38 and movies where things don’t explode – Have you seen “Table 19” with Anna Kendrick? Just released last year, I think. Anyway, it’s a funny movie with a surprisingly touching ending. I think you might like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kind words. This post is actually much closer to my true self than my regular posts, but I don’t often go there, for a variety of reasons. I’m usually a bit behind the curve when it comes to current movies. I’m aware of them, and I will eventually get to them, but there’s such a rich trove of older movies I haven’t seen that I am more than happy to remain behind that curve. The mere fact that you mention “Table 19” is good enough for me, as I value your insight, so the movie is now officially on my list. (P.S. All hail the mighty fried pickle!)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I thought I’d read all your celebratory posts, but this one is new to me. Excellent wishes. If more people wished the same, something would stir. Especially in the direction of icecream and Italy. I’ve been here almost for six years… It’s big enough for everybody.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m definitely stirred in the direction of ice cream and Italy, as that’s where my heritage starts. Perhaps someday I will get there, so you shouldn’t be surprise if there’s a knock on your door on an otherwise quiet Saturday afternoon… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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