When Deputy Editor Jainnie and I were trying to think of a theme for this month, we knew we wanted it to be positive. We came up with ‘wish’ – and what word could better represent positivity, ardent hopes and good intentions?
Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
Looking at the breadth of submissions, we saw that wishes are mirrors for regrets. A wish is to get something done that you couldn’t before. A wish is the desire to undo or redo, the fantasy of a clean slate. It’s the reminder of how unfair life can be, how unattainable your desires.
For me, it’s the wish to spend my time more constructively. And the regret is that I seem to waste so much of it, usually eating Mini Cheddars and watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix. All that potential washed down with cheesy crackers and Xander Harris’ increasingly feeble wisecracks.
Look on Pinterest and you will see everyone’s wishes, out on display and easily transferable from one person to the next. A wish to eat clean, to be mindful and also be able to do five different kinds of French braid – with optional flower crown! To be all things to all people. And to eat avocado toast.
Let’s call bullshit on wishes. And call bullshit on regrets. I like Mini Cheddars. I work really hard when not watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and sometimes during – season four was a bit of a slog). Regrets – the insignificant ones – are for the birds.
Take a wish apart and see it for what it is. That’s what this month’s writers have done (not least Louise O’Neill, whose short story straddled both May and June themes quite well).
Don’t make a wish. Make something else instead.