Stay with me for just a moment before you write me off as a crazed pessimist, this is actually a positive post I promise!
Scott Westerfield best sums up my point in his book Afterworlds.
“What did a happy ending even mean in real life, anyway? In stories you simply said, ‘They lived happily ever after,’ and that was it. But in real life people had to keep on living, day after day, year after year.”
We were raised with Disney and fairy tales, we were taught to look for our happy ending or our Prince Charming. But while we have deliriously happy moments, tragically sad lows, and everything in between, we don’t call these endings.
We talk about closing the chapter on parts of our lives sure, but nothing really ends with the finality of “and they lived happily ever after.”
There is so much freedom in this. Not only do we get to decide to continue forward, to course correct or to completely start over, we also get to change our mind and go back to where we left off, where a fairy tale may have called “The End.”
We get to say “I’m sorry” or “I was wrong.” We can mend fences and accept responsibility. We can choose to let people back into our lives that may have wronged us or that we may have wronged, we can choose to forgive.
We have so many choices in life! Even when we feel lost and out of control, we can choose to slow down. We can choose to refocus, to ground ourselves in the present. To go left where we normally go right.
So yes, you may meet your Prince or Princess Charming, you may have the fairytale adventure, and walk down the aisle, but don’t stop there. Keep looking forward, there is so much more to come.
Things may shift, from the highs to the lows, we may be lost and off track sometimes, but we don’t have to make any of those endings or hard stops.
Reevaluate, define new goals, take risks, Fail a thousand times, whatever you do, just keep moving forward.
You know even Hollywood hates a Happily Ever After when they can squeeze out a prequel/sequel/trilogy/remake.
There is no such thing as Happily Ever After in real life, enjoy it!