December 21, 2016

How to Satisfy our Desires when life tells us “No.”


“If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.”

If our wishes came true, all of us could ride, climb Everest and be famous. We could experience being rich and winning Olympic gold.

Wishing for something can be just as joyful as getting it. Making the most of wishes means that we don’t have to wait for our dreams to come true. Our ability to wish is a celebration in and of itself.

The perfect weight:

I had a coaching call yesterday with a world-class bodybuilder.

Every morning, she wakes up afraid that today is the day that she will put on so much weight that someone will mistake her for the Goodyear blimp.

It hasn’t happened yet, blowing up like that; in fact, she is ripped and has the trophies to prove it. But, as an attorney, there are leftover Christmas cookies at the office, calling out, “eat me!” As a childless wife, she wishes to offer the little orphaned Pfeffernusse or gingerbread man a warm home in her belly for the holidays.

She has a mean, green kale shake instead, but is tempted to fall off the wagon, eating everything in sight. I resonate with this fear of instant obesity, because I fear the same. I used to weigh 60 more pounds than I do now. It wasn’t so bad really, except in my memory of it.

But we exercise as though if we don’t, on Tuesday on Wednesday there could be trouble. It might make sense to celebrate our strong, powerful, lean bodies—without the fear of sudden obesity, to be proud of ourselves for the curls, bench presses and long hikes we enjoy. But sometimes it’s just fun to have the guilty pleasure of chowing down in our own minds, liberating ourselves from the treadmill and a world in which what we eat today we don’t wear tomorrow.


Lots of us have dreams of flying. But few of us cultivate wings, or befriend pilots, those people with free buddy passes who make unlimited, spur of the moment travel possible. My friend Rick is a pilot and he, it seems, may have been one of the survivors of Orville and Wilbur’s early experiments.

Not really, but he has flown for nearly 40 years and has been a pilot for a major airline, flying air busses for a quarter of a century. Rick is easy to like. He is light, fun, single and great company. He is also listing me as his designated buddy for 2017, meaning I can fly anywhere his airline does: New Zealand, Costa Rica, Chile, Omaha, Africa or Asia—unlimited flights, and at the top of the standby list for one year.

My dreams of being able to fly just came true. Where would you go in this big old world if you could go anywhere?

Yes, now I have the pressure of picking destinations, but I also have a totally open schedule and a good carry-on; I am preparing to spread my wings and fly.

Being invisible:

I’ve often imagined how cool it would be to be invisible. I might shadow a loved one, slip into a sold out Dylan or Lady Gaga concert or tickle Donald’s underarm repeatedly at the inauguration.

But my wishes of being invisible haven’t quite turned out like that. In fact, I became invisible to my ex-girlfriend, even while I still loved her and wanted to be her fellow. It happened suddenly. When I declined to move in together, she wouldn’t take my calls anymore, go out to dinner with me or make sweet love. I was invisible all right, and it really hurt.

Other times I feel invisible too, and not as important or relevant to other people as I imagine I should be. The idea of invisibility is much more enjoyable than the reality of it. “Look at me.” “Think of me.” “Love me!” I’d really rather be obvious than invisible. I don’t wish I was invisible anymore, and am pleased for any visibility I can get.

Sexual liberation:

As a healthy male, I am haunted by the desire for sex. I am run by this wild, dishonest drive.

My immature dream is to be able to wink at a woman in the grocery store and have her wish to take me home, to share some quality physical time with my pick of pool lifeguards or to have intercourse with anybody I choose from my high school graduating class back then.

I’m tired of being haunted by this sexual ghost.

Instead of unlimited sex I’ll wish for a world with lots of touching, cuddling, kissing, desire and approval from the opposite sex. I wish my biological drive would stop screaming “More sex!” And start whispering “I love you.”

What I really wish for sexually is the desire to be monogamous, to want one woman who represents total sexuality, orgasms galore and happily ever after. And for you and me to both know that I love you.


Sometimes we worry about nothing, like instant obesity. Other times our dreams come true, like being able to fly anywhere without notice. Yet other times we get what we always wanted, being invisible, but realize it isn’t really what we want at all.

In the best of times, we enjoy and love the act of wishing. We don’t loiter or filibuster, delaying gratification until our wishes and dreams come true. Wishing is enough. Often not getting what we want is a wish come true too. Everything makes life richer, especially the ability to wish, worry and love.


Author: Jerry Stocking

Images: Wikimedia CommonsFavi Santos/Flickr

Editor: Catherine Monkman

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