Happily Ever After
I’ve always loved Disney movies. The endings never get old. The good guy always triumphs. He always gets the girl. And everyone lives happily ever after.
But, I always wonder what happens after that. In real life, what happens after the cowboy rides off into the sunset? What happens after that miraculous grand ball in the beautiful castle? What happens after Aladdin and Jasmine ride off on their magic carpet into a distant full moon?
In real life, what happens beyond that?
I have nothing against Disney movies, and still watch it till this very day. It’s just that the notion of being ‘happily ever after’ shouldn’t be something that we gauge our lives by.
That’s the riskiness of basing your life on social media, or TV, or the fictional movies, or anything that welcomes comparison to see how your life is doing with the benchmark of others.
When you do that, there’s the inherent feeling that your life is not enough. That you are not living your supreme life, and that you need something more to gain that feeling of happily ever after.
It’s the endless wanting of more and more in order to feel like that cowboy riding off into victory. Or Belle and the Beast dancing happily in a castle and getting married together to end the scene.
In reality, I can’t speak for what happens to others. And how others feel. Maybe they do feel ecstatic day in and day out. Maybe they do feel like their life is just a grand old ball that is happy beyond comparison to anyone else.
But I feel like most people aren’t in those shoes. They aren’t living their best life as depicted in the Disney or Hollywood movies. Those are just fantasies and for our entertainment only.
Most people are kind of just living this day in and day out standard normal life. Some days are good. Some days are not so good. Some days are exciting. Other times can be quite boring.
It really depends on the time and place. It’s not necessarily a roller coaster ride of exhilaration. It’s just life in the day in and day out.
I experienced that feeling of being ‘happily ever after’ very rarely in my life. One such time was when I opened the acceptance letter, learning that I had gotten into Cornell University - an Ivy League institution!
I thought that I had made it in life, and that everything would be easy peezy lemon squeezy from here on out. I thought that I would be that cowboy to ride off into sunset and experience eternal happiness for ever and ever.
Little did I know that life was just beginning. And the challenges were thrown my way more rigorously and more fervently than ever before. It was not the happily ever after that I had imagined.
In fact, there were more worries, more anxieties, more obstacles to encounter. This notion of being happy after acquiring a certain something is a myth.
It may bring us some sort of short-term satisfaction, but it will not cure any long-term wanting or insufficiency.
The feeling of well-being is up to us all to generate by ourselves. It is in the palm of our hands. It is not something external that needs to be gotten. It is not some far off comparison on TV for us to reach for.
It is right here. Right now. We can be content with what we have so easily. But, most of us don’t realize this and are left forever desiring a ‘happily ever after’ moment just like they see in the Disney fantasies.
Again, don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of Disney. It’s just a word of caution not to attach your real life to the imaginary life of an Aladdin or a Simba or a Belle.
Disney will forever have a place in my heart as one of my favorite companies to rout for. But, just realize that it is a product of fantasy. A product of entertainment. It is in no way a realization of the life that people are supposed to live.
Most will not get anywhere close to feeling that moment of happily ever after. Life, after all, doesn’t just end like a movie or a book or a story. Life goes on. With us or without us.
There is no after or beginning. No first or last. There is just this moment. And this moment is probably the closest we can ever get to finding a ‘happily ever after’ moment. But, that’s the paradox.
There’s no need to search for a somewhere else or a better moment. This moment is all we have and all we’ll ever need.
So, learn to cherish what we have. It’s not rocket science. Just practice contentment and gratitude. Practice acceptance. Practice being right where we are. Because, as they put it in Disney, that’s where all the magic happens.