So, I’m going to be forty at the end of this year, and it’s been making me think about a a lot of things. Mostly it’s about what the future holds, how lucky I am to have had the past I have had, and ponder the meaning of life a little too.
One of the themes I keep returning to is the happily ever after. I think you spend so much of your life waiting for the happily ever after you are in danger of missing it when it comes.
In your youth you grow up wanting to do well at school, go to university, get a ‘good’ job, find a partner, settle down, get married and have kids. Live the dream. Now I’m almost forty I’m there. Now I’ve done all those things, and I’m living my happily ever after, but it looks a little different than I imagined.
No one told me that it would look like a weekly shop at the supermarket, plunging the blocked toilet, staying in for the boiler man to come, wiping snotty noses, driving the kids here, there and everywhere after school, loading and unloading the dishwasher. So what happens if you get there and it’s not your happily ever after you’ve imagined in your head? I’m sure there were more day trips to the beach as a family in mine, less vacuuming.
As we get older and I see that it’s not always the way we have it mapped out, things happen, lives change and once we reach destination Happily Ever After then what? Unexpected things go wrong with our physical health, our mental health, our personal and family relationships, things rock our world that are beyond our control, parents, relatives, friends pass away, lives change forever. Life seems to get more complicated all the time and worse still we’re supposed to have reached the end goal of the Happily Ever After.
So what I’m beginning to realise now I’m almost forty is that Happily Ever After is not a destination: it’s a way of life. It’s all the cliches you already know; it’s not about waiting for the storm to pass it’s about learning to dance in the rain. That in order to make a rainbow a little rain must fall. That we should stop waiting for our Happily Ever After to arrive and make it happen in our day to day-ness of lives instead.
I’ve started at night to remember one Happily Ever After incident that’s happened that day amongst all the day to day-ness of managing everyone’s needs. Yesterday it was enjoying breakfast with my nephew, today it will be remembering how happy I felt watching the small boy scooter in the garden in his wellies, last week it was an outing we had at the park all together as a family. And when you stop to count them in a day there are so many Happily Ever Afters going on that no matter what else is going on if you can pause to remember and be grateful that you have those tiny things in your life that make you happy then you’re there. Your happy ever after is changing all the time and it always will, despite what’s going on in your life at that time. The trick is to remember you’ve made it, your making it and you’ve still more to make!