What do people really want?
The question was answered in hundreds of different ways on New Year’s Eve at First Night Spokane, on a giant “dream catcher” set up at the Spokane Convention Center. People wrote out their wishes, hung them on the dream catcher and launched their hopes into the new year.
I have hundreds of those wishes in front of me right now and it turns out they can be divided into several basic categories, beginning with funny-whimsical-cute (keeping in mind that some of these come from children):
• “That the Star Wars people come to life.”
• “Someone to build me a time machine.”
• “To go to Sonic World” (an imaginary video game world).
• “I wish we could fly.”
Some kids had more achievable wishes:
• “To ride a bike without training wheels.”
• “Learn to read.”
• “To get a real kitty.”
• “To get a puppy.”
• And slightly less achievable, “I want my puppy to stay little.”
Some dreams, from older kids or adults, were almost as fanciful, including:
• “For the Denver Broncos to win the Super Bowl next year.”
• “I want everything free in 2011.”
• “Get abs by June 23.”
• “A smaller body.”
• (In fervent handwriting) “Make my wife ‘romantically enthusiastic’ again.”
Except he, uhh, actually used a far more vivid word than “romantically enthusiastic.”
And one of my favorites:
• “I’d like to have a rockin’ body and be an award-winning director. Boo-yah!”
Dozens of people wished for generic “peace,” “love” and “prosperity.” One wish, in youthful handwriting, captured that idealism perfectly:
• “Make all the poor people in the world richer.”
Yet he (or she) couldn’t resist adding that he also wanted “a Robosapien V2,” a toy robot that lists at $200.
Most people stayed away from politics, although one person wrote, “Never vote 4 a liberal” and another, presumably from a different side of the aisle, wrote, “Health insurance for all.”
One of the most popular categories was the self-improvement dream. Some were inspired by the Great Recession:
• “To pay off our credit card and put another $2,500 in savings by this time next year.”
• “To sell our house successfully in a timely manner.”
• “I wish Mary would win the Lotto.”
• “Start performing, start a band and make it to ‘America’s Got Talent.’ ”
• “To get snowboard gear, learn new tricks, start college and build credit.”
• “Enter five paintings into art shows (first, I need to paint them, too!)”
• “To become a Lilac Queen and better Christian.”
Probably the biggest category of all was the love-and-marriage category, which included these wishes:
• “For a girlfriend.”
• “To meet a guy who actually is a nice person and truly cares about me.”
• “To fix the friendship I ruined.”
• “To make (name deleted) the one and only Mrs. in my life.”
• “To get pregnant.”
• “To stay married.”
And finally this short and direct one:
• “To make it legal.”
And then there’s the final category. Let’s call it the poignant and heartbreaking category:
• “That my son could walk unassisted.”
• “That my family would still be friends and would stop fighting.”
• “To never know the pain of methadone withdrawal.”
• “To get a job so we don’t become homeless.”
• “To have my own house for my family.”
• “For all the animals to be OK.”
• “No more ADHD.”
• “I don’t want to be sick anymore and I hope that my husband, that died in April, is in heaven.”
• “That we don’t have a divors” (in a child’s misspelling).
• “To remain cancer-free.”
• “That our neighbor stops going to the ER.”
• “That my husband, father to our two small children, doesn’t deploy.”
• “That my husband comes back safely from Iraq and retire from the Army Reserves.”
• “To get my kids back, get into school and have a strong family relationship.”
• “Not get deported.”
• “For my brother to be clean, drug-free and come home to his family.”
• “That when I leave my house, everything will be OK.”
I didn’t get a chance to hang up my own message on the dream catcher, but if I could, here’s what it would be: That this final batch of wishes could come true.
Some of the other ones? Well, let’s put it this way. That boo-yah person needs to choose either “a rockin’ body” or “to be an award-winning director.” From what I’ve seen on awards shows, you can’t have both.
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sponsored According to two 2015 surveys, 62 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to handle an unexpected emergency, much less any long-term plans.