Believe in Happily Ever After

There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.
Logan Pearsall Smith

But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted…He lived happily ever after.
Willy Wonka

Last winter, a friend of mine wrote about having “survivor’s guilt,” because her life was going so well, while so many other people were struggling.  She couldn’t enjoy herself, because she was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.  And it did, weeks after she wrote that.  She ended up facing some horrible struggles, that nobody should ever have to endure in their lifetime.

The tragedy, however, is that waiting for bad times to come, did not make them any easier.  It did nothing to prepare her, for what was around the corner.  Instead, it only deprived her of happiness, when all was going well.

We don’t like to be blindsided.  We want to be prepared for whatever will come our way.  But is the shock of being blindsided really worse than the inability to be happy, because we’re always worrying about what lies around the corner?  Does worrying really prepare us for anything at all?

I was blindsided last January.  It happened immediately after we returned from our trip to Madison.  Do I wish that I would have seen it coming?  The weekend in Madison was one of the best trips I have ever been on.  It brought Rob and me a lot closer, and, through the conversations we had that weekend, we discovered some earth-shattering things about each other.  I am very glad that I didn’t worry about what was to come.

Right here, right now, my life is perfect.  I live somewhere with palm trees and sunshine, my daughter is doing well in school, and I have a job that I love and many good friends.  I’m trying new things with my writing, and I’m pleased with the direction my blog is taking.

However, until yesterday, I was not happy.  I was not able to stop trying to peek around the corner.  Last winter was horribly difficult, and I have been trying to prepare myself, in case something like that happened again.

Accepting “happily ever after” is difficult.  We all know that life is about change, and that more challenges will come our way.  But I know that last winter, I was provided with the resources, friends, and supports that I needed to get through it.  We need to trust that the supports we need will be there, when we need them. 

Right now, I’m living happily ever after.  There is no longer any need for me to create problems where there are none.   I understand that life is about change, but I am not going to waste my time worrying about when and what that change will be.  Right now, things are good, and my only responsibility is to accept and enjoy this new reality.

What is keeping you from finding your “happily ever after”?

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Note: Please check out my post on Katy’s new blog: Liteskip Consulting.  You may remember Katy’s previous blog, Big Little Living.  Like many bloggers, Katy is trying a new creative venture, so let’s all head over and check it out!

11 thoughts on “Believe in Happily Ever After

  1. As human beings with a finite life, living in an impermanent universe, we feel vulnerable…and we never like feeling vulnerable. But impermanence is what makes life possible and it turns out vulnerability is our greatest strength. Remove the armor and live freely, knowing that life is short.

    • “Vulnerability is our greatest strength.”

      I’d never really thought of it that way, but how true! A life spent obsessing over how to prevent that which can’t be prevented, is truly a waste of energy.

  2. What a relief to be free of the worry of looking around the corner. It doesn’t mean it won’t creep in as I’m sure even those most practiced in meditation experiences anxieties from time to time. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s ok to be ok. That survivor’s guilt doesn’t do anyone any good. Guilt is such a waste. You can either choose to do something or not, but to feel bad about it just for the sake of feeling bad, I am ridding myself of that. It is great that you, Rob, and your daughter are growing in new ways, experiencing new things, and enjoying them. Living life is fun!

    • I would have to agree with all of that, Tammy!

      And, yes, I have caught myself being a perfectionist about being fearful. Which is interesting because perfectionism is itself fear-based. Everything is really a lot more OK than we often believe.

  3. I have found that bad things are going to happen to you, and good things are going to happen, and that it is better to enjoy the good times when they are happening.
    For a while after I was sick I lived in fear of being sick again. At some point I just got my faith in order and decided I wasn’t going to worry, and that God (or the powers that be) has a plan for me, and I just need to go along for the ride.
    I have been seriously ill again, and recovered. But I haven’t wasted my good times worrying about the bad anymore.
    I am so glad you and your family are doing well 🙂

    • It’s hard to face the unknown, or know that there is more of a possibility of something bad happening (such as an illness). It takes a lot of wisdom to know that it will or will not happen, whether we waste our time worrying about it or enjoy the good that life has to offer, when it comes our way.

  4. Hi Bethany! I’m glad to hear you have a great new perspective on worry….it is actually another way that author Brene Brown says is a believe in scarcity or not enoughness….we believe that our good will “run out,” or that we don’t deserve so much, or that if we get too happy then we’ll “use it up” and be faced with something worse. All wrong! She also shares a very vivid story in her book Daring Greatly where a husband said he had lived most of his life not allowing himself to get too happy so that he wouldn’t end up being too disappointed. Then his long time wife died and he felt as horrible as possible and even worse because he realized that all his “putting happiness on hold” did nothing to help him grieve. Let’s live our good now–knowing it is completely enough and sufficient unto itself.~Kathy

    • Good points, Kathy. We do seem to believe (subconsciously, at least) that if we don’t get too happy, we won’t be too sad either. It makes sense, logically, but, in reality, it does seem that we get MORE sad when we don’t allow ourselves to be happy. It’s incorrect to believe that by shortening the distance between our emotions, we cushion ourselves from the fall.

  5. You are very insightful, Bethany. That will carry you far and wide. I’ve learned that no matter what happens, I’m adaptable and resourceful. Happiness is a moment by moment process. Guilt, fear and worry the most harmful of emotions. It’s been a hellofa ride but I’m hanging on to the rails through the highs and lows. At the end, I want to say “Well, that was interesting and fun and a bit scary”, just like the roller coaster ride so many pay for. Some of us don’t wait for the other shoe to drop, we throw it as far as we can and see what happens next. 🙂 I don’t believe in happily ever after. I believe in happy now. Good post to start that conversation.

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