Finding Your Own Happily Ever After
It starts as a dream when we're little, maybe it was with Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, or even the Princess Bride, but we start to imagine our own happily ever after. Depending on our personalities we might have imagined ever after in a variety of ways, from a dream job (princess, duh!), to our prince, or maybe you just dreamed of a life with less worries than you had in your reality. Make believe is a powerful game we play as children that really does help our childhood minds develop in so many ways. But it can sure serve to set up the need for a swift kick in the face from reality when we grow up.
There seems to be such a bad stigma around being an adult nowadays. Don't get me wrong, it can be a BEAST, and maybe we are just a more honest generation, or maybe we're a little bit negative. Is growing up, having jobs, getting married, and having kids really THAT bad? I hear it all the time in conversation. "Don't get married." "Don't have kids." "Don't have another kid." "Don't buy a house." The advice seems always forthcoming, possibly well intentioned, but usually not asked for, and almost always negative. But the reality is there are happy adults and isn't that what we all want, to be happy? So how to do we achieve that seemingly elusive "happily ever after?" Here are some tips that helped me.
First, let go of your ideas. Disney truly is the happiest place on earth but it is make believe and as nice as it is, it is not real, which means the happiness founded on Disney dreams isn't real either. Ever wonder why the movies end at the wedding and leave out the rest? It can be hard to let go of what you thought marriage or parenting would be like and instead find joy in reality but it is so worth it. It was so hard for me to let go of what I thought things should be like (I'm just teensy stubborn) but life got so much better once I did and honestly, even easier since there wasn't this nagging expectation in the back of my head.
Next, admit and own your mistakes. We all make them and we all make huge ones in our life. I love anything Kacey Musgraves (if you don't know the magic that she sings check her out!) but her song "Cup of Tea" is one of my absolute favorites. In it she talks about (paraphrasing here) how maybe you married the wrong person first, maybe you flunked out of college, maybe you were just a mean to someone, but hey life goes on. You will never reach your happily ever after if you either get stuck in the mire of your mistake or if you ignore it completely. Don't stay in the failing marriage or beat yourself up over a choice you made. It doesn't make you weaker to admit you made a mistake. It is our mistakes that help us grow the most. But in that same breath don't marry yourself to the victim role, if we refuse to acknowledge mistakes we make that are our fault we can never grow. It is easy to play the blame game or even the justification game (I grew up only doing things because my brother did) but adults have to face consequences or we get stuck. Life moves on so become a phoenix and rise from the ashes of the bridge you burned.
Lastly, find your joy! You may find yourself in a life you never imagined but there is always joy. I love the quote "Happiness can be found even in the darkest times if only we remember to turn toward the light." Maybe you find yourself in a place of despair and depression and see no way out, but I promise you there are always people willing to help that will hold you up when you feel too weak to do so yourself. Surround yourself with other joyful people and learn from the path already followed (it's not always the bad way to go). There can be so much joy in marriage!! IF you take your time, find the right person, and foster that joy. My husband has brought me more joy than anything else ever has or will. My world doesn't work without his wit, his logic, or his smirk. It doesn't just happen, you have to give and work to create it. There is joy unlike any other in children. The truth is children can always bring joy, but it makes it a lot easier to enjoy them if you take your time. You can find joy in your career if you decide what you truly want to do and work hard to get there. Maybe your joy doesn't exist in a spouse or children, maybe it is in travel or your pets or friends. Joy is something that can be found in different places for every person but it can be found!
As we get older we see that big decisions take more time than we once thought. The greatest lesson to learn is that you attract what you give, nothing really just lands in your lap. God, karma, the universe, whoever you want to give credit, sees through your bullshit. It isn't really a fake it till you make it kind of thing. You have to be really willing to change and seek that happiness. Your happily ever after may not include a dream job or even a prince but it could still be right for you. The beauty of life is that we're all different but we're all capable of finding our happily ever after.