In The Time Travel Project on January 15, 2013 at 1:16 am

Time Travel Project Introduction

Dear Younger Derek,

On March 19, 1985 you wrote:

“I wish there were more hours in the day.

“I wish it was always spring or summer.

“I wish there was no such thing as disease, sickness, and famine.

“I wish people could make agreements and not argue.

“I wish I knew Indiana Jones, Woody Allen, The Doctor, and Eddie Murphy.

“I wish people could be nice to each other.

“I wish school could be shorter and we could still learn.

“I wish Ms. La Flamme wouldn’t get so upset sometimes.

“I wish I lived in England so I could watch my favorite T.V. show.

“I wish I had more wishes. “

Again, this is another assignment from Ms. La Flamme’s 8th grade English class. I realize that I have different wishes now.

I wish that the public schools now were at least as good as the schools I went to. I had my gripes about school back then, but I did not realize how good an education I was getting compared to what is going on in schools now.

I wish I had learned to be okay with arguing and not be so quick to agree as if agreeing in and of itself were a virtue. Self-possession and assertion are important qualities that you will work on developing your whole life. When someone argues with you, breathe, and remember what it is you value and what you really believe and what it is you actually know to be true. Agreeing without critical thought can become acquiescence, allowing people to slide over your boundaries and step on your sense of self. Conflict is not the end of the world. In fact, it is where the beginning to solid agreement actually begins. Become more comfortable with it and it will serve you well.

I think the secret embedded in my wish to know the famous and fictional people I mentioned was really the wish to become part of a creative, intelligent, progressive-minded community that didn’t take itself too seriously and went on great adventures. Or at least that’s the wish now.

I’d like to visit so many other places in the world than just England. And I don’t need to go there to watch my favorite T.V. show. Doctor Who is now being broadcast in the U.S. and UK at the same time. And if I didn’t have cable I could still download it through iTunes. What I wish now is that I’d have a chance to write an episode of Doctor Who, but since I’m not British I don’t think I’ll ever be given that opportunity.

I wish that I could stop wishing, accept things as they are, and move ahead. Without forward movement, wishing can quickly turn into worry and I know your wishes have tendency to stagnate in this way and become the cause of stress. The first thing you’ll need to accept as it is is yourself. Then you need to realize that wishes either need to have action applied to them or be abandoned. Wonder tends to be good, inspiring, and motivating for you. However, wishing without action seems to add to your inertia. Let’s trade that in for exercising wonder and positive action.

  1. Someone said (I don’t know who, naturally) that a plan was wishing with an action and a due date applied to it. I think that’s true, but I still do more wishing then planning.

  2. This is all really wonderful and true. It’s so hard to be caught in that rut where you know the wishing isn’t enough, but you don’t feel able to take the action. Don’t forget to start where you are.

    If we could have been school kids in the same time and place, we surely would have been best friends 🙂 Or BFFs, if those had existed back then.

  3. I, too, have fears about public schooling. And I carry that fear with me wherever I go (I should be applying for teaching positions this time next year). What specifically are your fears? You don’t have to answer that here, maybe we’ll grab a beer sometime and mull it over.
    I found an old “three wishes” assignment that I completed in 4th grade. I wished to cure all diseases (not me personally, but for the cures to exist) and I wished to have a griffon as a pet. It’s almost hard to say which of those is more fantastical. But that’s the beauty of adolescence’s visions of Utopia.

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