Through the years, I have met a lot of people. I’m a people person. I’m “that girl” who will ask you 100 intrusive questions about your life in our first 5 minutes together. [I hate people like that, but] I am that person.
Everyone has a story. Y’all know this. But when I’m chumming it up with people and learning all about their life, it is crazy to hear how hardly anyone’s life played out the way they hoped for. Even the happiest of people didn’t get their “Happily Ever After.”
The image that we strummed up in our heads as little girls of how life would work out, just crumbles at one point or another for damn near everyone. When I was 16, I could have guaranteed that I would be married fresh out of college at 22, and had 3 kids by the time I was 30. I would also be coming out of college making minimum $50,000.00 a year. Having a family young, and making good money… that’s all I wanted. That was the plan. It didn’t matter that I was single, and had no idea what college I wanted to attend, let alone what major I wanted to pursue… all those things were definitely happening.
Fast forward ten years to the present. Life update: NONE of those things happened. Literally, not a single one. Sure I went to college and worked hard for two different degrees, but I still make what feels like minimum wage, and I have to see an astronomical student loan balance lingering in the background for the next… “forever” years? I got married at age 26, after having to date several complete losers before finding “the one.” My prince charming came with so much baggage from his last relationship, we’d definitely have to pay Delta the extra $50 to check it. I did end up with two thirds of the children I wanted, but I didn’t get to plan for them, carry them, or give birth to them… and I’ll never get to give them a sibling. I’ll never be considered “a parent” by the vast majority of society. All the things that were so important to me… everything I wanted out of life… now completely out of reach.
So why is this a theme? Why does everyone I meet somehow tell me they didn’t get their “Happily Ever After”?! And again, I’m talking about the happy people too! I’m included in the Happy People Club! I am so happy despite none of my “dreams” coming true. So why aren’t our dreams coming true? Because our dreams are not realistic.
Societal pressures. The people in your life telling you what you should want. Hollywood showing you what you should want. “Natural instincts” (y’all, being a woman is hard). Traditions. Whatever the case may be for you… why do we let ourselves get caught up in this lack-of-a-fairy-tale ending? More importantly, what can we do to show younger generations that it is okay? It is okay when things don’t work out as you have planned!
We need to bend the mold. We need to promote a-typical, revolving dreams. We need to stop pressuring young girls to have 1 million kids and make 1 million dollars in their lifetime. We need to stop promoting toxic relationships, and embrace blended families. We need to support each other when things don’t work out, and not criticize one another for not meeting milestones. In a time where anxiety and depression are very real things our children are facing, we need to model positivity. We need to be our best selves. We need to do better, we must do better.
“Happily Ever After” as we know it is a joke. Happiness happens when events occur in the right place, at the right time. Happiness happens in God’s time. “Happily Ever After” cannot be planned out years in advance. It happens organically, through life lessons, wins and loses. It happens through living life, failing, and rebuilding.
Whatever you’re going through, know you’re not alone. Remember that virtually no one’s “Happily Ever After” is going as planned. Remember that you can still achieve and maintain true, honest happiness.
True, lifelong, “Happily Ever After” is not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Enjoy life, my friends. We’re in this together.