Wish upon a star. Throw a coin in the wishing well. You can keep wishing until you are blue in the face… there is no genie!

“Les Souhaits Ridicules” (“The Ridiculous Wishes”) is a French fairy tale first published in 1693.The story’s protagonist is a poor woodcutter named Blaise who, after complaining about his miserable lot, is granted three wishes. Sitting in front of the fire with his wife, Fanchon, and feeling a bit hungry, he absent mindedly wishes for a sausage to eat. Sure enough the sausage appears slithering across the floor like a snake. Fanchon complains bitterly that her husband has wasted a wish and calls Blaise a fool. Blaise then angrily says that he wishes that the sausage was on Fanchon’s nose. His wish is granted, and the sausage becomes attached to Fanchon’s nose, giving the previously attractive woman a strange and ugly appearance. Although Blaise could still wish to be a prince or a king, he realizes that Fanchon could not be a princess or a queen with a sausage on her nose. He uses the last wish to wish for the sausage on Fanchon’s nose to disappear. Consequently, at the end of the story, Blaise and Fanchon are back in the same condition in which they were in at the start. They have missed out on the opportunity to become rich and powerful.

The moral of the story. We deserve to be miserable if we are incapable of using the talents with which we were born.

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I wish I could undo the past. I wish I were young again. I just wish I had done things differently.

It is fantasy to think we can change the past. Thinking we exist anywhere other than the exact moment we are in, is a deception. We have no choice but to live in the ‘here and now.’ The present moment is all that exists.

Admittedly, that can be difficult to accept when the image you are looking at in the mirror is bald; the six pack has become a pot belly; and you are undeniably old. And therein lies the challenge. You must declare to your reflection, “I am not a victim of age. My happiness is not dependent on wishing for an idealized version of the past.”

To those who seek my guidance as to how to live out the days that remain, my advice is, accept the vicissitudes of aging; let go of what was, and can no longer be. Set an alarm in your brain. Program it to go off whenever you slip into the victim mode.

Future. I wish I was rich. I wish I had a girlfriend. I wish I could lose weight. I wish I had a better job. I wish things were different.

It is fantasy to think blowing out candles on a cake can predict your future. When you wish for something to happen rather than doing what it takes to make it happen, you have become addicted to decaffeinated Chamomile and officially declared yourself out of the game. The old gray stallion may not be what he used to be, but he’s a long way from the glue pot. The task is to accept the changes as age-related realities rather than dreaded measurements of widening deficits. The rewards are many when we learn to adapt to a lifestyle aligned to the capabilities still in place.

Slowing down does not equate to becoming ineffective and irrelevant. When a 5K run is out of the question, take pleasure in the 5000 steps you walk each day. Close the “wish list” folder; the joy is in the “this is it” file.

Each new day is an opportunity for new experiences compatible with the person you are now. The only “Genie” you can rely on is the one that opens your garage door.

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