Thursday, September 16, 2010
Happily Ever After
And they lived happily ever after!
Isn’t that the way the fairy tales usually end? Cinderella – Sleeping Beauty – Snow White – they all had to overcome some major obstacles in their lives. Wicked step mothers, ugly step sisters – enslavement, banishment, attempted murder, even drug induced comas that lasted for one hundred years. Yet, at the end of it all, the beautiful princesses got to ride off into the sunset with their handsome princes, to a magical place where they lived out the rest of their lives in absolute bliss.
Of course, as adults, we don’t believe in fairy tales. Yet we still love those feel good movies and novels where, despite a million-and-fifty reasons as to why the relationship in question could never work out, they still end up together. We still heave a sigh of relief when they rush into each other’s arms for that final, long, passionate kiss before the credits start to roll.
Deep down, I suppose we all realize that the fairy tale princesses and the characters in the movies and the novels are all very one-dimensional. Their lives consist of a plot in which they are faced with a challenge. Once this challenge is overcome, they are rewarded by receiving the object of their desires.
It’s hard to discover that real life doesn’t work that way. On numerous occasions I have been the shoulder-to-cry on for friends who were in the midst of some great drama in their lives. I’ve heard them wail
‘All I want is to be happy. Is that too much to ask? I just want to be happy!’
But sometimes it seems to me that we tend to think of ‘happiness’ as a destination. It’s that kingdom where the princesses are living out their joyous existences with their handsome princes. They had to go through quite a bit to get there, but, once they did, they could stay forever.
The sad truth is that happiness is more about choice. It’s true that it’s easier to feel ‘happy’ when circumstances are favourable. But the people to be envied the most are the ones who manage to be happy in the face of all adversity. They are the ones who realize that their lives may never be magically transformed into something wonderful; that they might never get to escape the ugly, imprisoning, dangerous things in their world. And yet they still manage to find contentment, and cause for celebration, in the simple, everyday routines of living – because they make a choice to do so.
©Lyn Murphy 2010