In addition to the paycheck, one thing I like about my job and its associated road trips is that I meet a lot of interesting and/or friendly people. Some of the most memorable people I’ve met have been after hours, when I’m out exploring. One such encounter occurred on my drive to the coast last week.
I’d missed lunch that day and had planned to grab something along the way. That plan went awry because I was on a highway without any places to stop. After an hour or so, I resorted to driving three miles off the highway to get to a small town. Unfortunately, the only restaurants I found were fried chicken and pizza places. (I suspect there were other options, just not on this road.)
Anyway, I finally decided to stop at an almost-modern convenience store in hopes of finding some string cheese and maybe an apple to tide me over. No such luck. No Power Bars or other back-up options either, so I went with Plan G and grabbed a pack of peanut butter crackers.
The check-out clerk was helping a man out at the gas pump so I browsed the offerings on the counter while I waited. When I spotted one of these, I had to pick it up and flip it for a calorie check:
Of course, I dropped it like a hot potato when I saw that it had 200 calories. Ouch! (By comparison, the regular-sized Reese’s PB Cups have 110 calories each and the mini-sized ones have about 40 calories each. Or so I’ve heard.)
Apparently my ouch! was in my out loud voice, because I heard an out loud voice other than my own drawl, “You knew when you picked that up it had too many calories.”
I looked up and saw that I had the clerk’s full attention. With a knowing smile, she added, “You was just wishin’ it had, like, 50 calories, wasn’t you?”
She may not have been grammatically correct, but she sure had my number! Only I was hoping it had fewer than 160 calories, which would have made it a better (and more chocolate-y) calorie option than my pb crackers. But, yeah, I was busted and I told her so.
We laughed and talked about my quest for healthier snacks. She lamented the lack of healthy options in the store, and I offered a few suggestions, including those I had originally hoped to buy. (It turns out the store was just out of string cheese and the “li’l bit of fresh fruit” they normally carried.) She seemed particularly excited about the boiled-egg-as-snack possibility, which made me happy, because it’s one of my favorite snacks, too.
As I drove along, happily munching on my pb crackers, I thought about the concept of wishing and the fact that I do a lot of it.
– I wish I didn’t have a squish belly.
– I wish I could win the lottery, even one of the small ones.
– I wish I could travel to more interesting places (or ones with better restaurants.)
– I wish I could stay organized.
– I wish my budget wasn’t so tight.
– I wish so many of my favorite foods didn’t come attached to so many calories.
And so on. If wishes were chocolate, I’d have gained all my weight back a long time ago.
But wishes aren’t chocolate. They’re just fleeting bits of hopes and dreams, and there’s nothing wrong with wishing for things, even things that aren’t likely to happen. Sometimes, if we’re paying attention, wishes are the whispers of plans yet to come.
So wishing is a good thing, but in thinking about how many times I say or think “I wish…”, I realize that I need to be mindful of following it up with a few “I’m grateful for…” thoughts as well, because I have many blessings and riches in my life. Things that matter, like my health, family, friends, shelter, transportation, and good, healthy foods. Including chocolate.
I also need to take the time to listen to my wishes and sort out the possible from the things that are just not going to happen. Those wishes, I need to just set free.
But I’ll probably always check labels on foods I know have too many calories. Miracles do happen, you know!
What do you wish for?