I took this picture yesterday while exploring Denmark.

Me and my two travel buddies had just walked four or five miles trying to find our way out of the rundown labyrinth of Freetown Christiana. Never heard of the place? I’ll let my little friend do the explaining.

I was feeling quite relieved I’d grown up in a normal home after that. Ok, semi normal. Alright, alright, I admit it! Growing up as a white girl in China is not exactly normal not normal but at least drugs weren’t as common as bread there. I’ve never seen so many drugs in my life, much less legal and on display for all to see as I did in Christiana.

Anyhow, I was feeling relieved that I hadn’t grown up there when we reached Papirøen. By that point my neck was starting to hurt from swiveling my head from side to side scanning my surroundings. There were no more German shepherds or men in black with sunglasses and baseball caps staring back to watch for. Here, it was nothing but the sounds of laughter and the harbor, wafts of pastries and hot dogs and bits of conversation to attempt to decipher in a colorful array of languages.

We set our day packs down and sat on the dock with our feet dangling over the water while we ate PP&Js, oranges and Nutella and crackers.

After lunch we noticed it—the clump of tiny trees off to the side of the food hall. They had strings of white with notes attached to their branches. Reading some of them, I saw notes in Japanese, English, Dutch, Chinese, Turkish, and more. The ones I could read were every type of wish from the deep-hearted wishes to find love and meaning, to ones wishing for a president other than Trump.

After looking at them for a while I wrote one.

It struck me, as I hung mine up next to all the wishes of people from around the world, that wishes are nothing special. They’re just that. Wishes. Wishful thinking. Hopes. Dreams.

We all have them.

But how many of us achieve them?

 

Here’s what the wishing trees of Denmark fail to tell us: what to do about those wishes.

 

And so, I imagine many of those wishes written down may not be achieved even though they could be.

When I was a teen I wanted to be an author. It seemed like just a dream. Me? An author? The odds weren’t in my favor.

Then again, they never seem to be with wishes. I think this is why they so often they stay just wishful thinking. Scared to fail, we leave wishes as that thing in our lives that we occasionally think about but don’t really do much about.

 

I’ve had enough wishful thinking!

 

I’ve decided in my own life to get out of my comfort zone and break down the walls that are stopping me. Along the way, I’ve learned a thing or two about wishes. Mainly, the difference between achieving them and not boils down to one thing.

Here’s what the wishing trees won’t tell you. Here’s what you have to do…

 

Put yo’ grit on!

 

Real wishes don’t come true through learning a few spells at Hogwarts or from luck.

The only way they can be reached is through hard work. So get ready to get your grit on because if you’re serious about reaching your dreams, nothing short of hard work is going to get you there. Ask any athlete, any author, anyone who’s a someone or someone’s who’s a no one but has a wish they’ve made a reality.

That’s what it all boils down to.

There’s a lot more in terms of practical steps and daily work to do—sure. But really it’s the mindset that you CAN do it and then that you WILL. It’s the mindset that you won’t give up.

That’s what changed me.

For years, progress on my book was stagnant. Then one day I woke up and realized I wasn’t any closer to my wish than I had been years ago. In fact, it was starting to feel more and more like just that: a distant and hopeless wish.

 

I knew I had a choice to make.

 

Buckle down and get my grit on or let time erode my dream until no hope of ever turning it into a reality existed. You have the same choice to make.

 

What will it take for you to stop dreaming and start doing?

 

As for the wish I wrote down and hung on that tree, I wrote down the same wish I’ve had since a teen.

I wished to be published.

I’m not there yet but I know I’m much closer. Today, the launch of my author blog is another milestone in the right direction.

Candace signing off to continue her café crawl in Denmark and continue making her wishes realities.

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