We, as humans, live in an era where success is defined by how high someone’s income is, or how much money they make. In this era, achievement and happiness is often synonymous with what titles –such as CEO, Doctor, manager— one has or how famous one is. The reality is though, that we live in an era embossed into a foundation of greed and pessimism. So much skepticism and cynicism exists within our hearts, that we no longer believe in “happily ever after”.
I do. I believe in happy endings, and I believe that “happily ever after” does exist. I know that many people who hear this say to themselves “hah, that’s so naïve,” or “that doesn’t exist in the real world.” Then, let me ask those of you thinking thoughts along those lines, “what is a happy ending defined as?” Pumpkin carriages, enchanted forests, princes and princess, living a care-free life… those do not define a happy ending. Instead, I believe that hard work resulting in simple pleasures and a life someone can be proud of is a happy ending. I believe that living life to its fullest and enjoying most of every minute is a happy ending.
My earliest and fondest memories are of when I was a little girl. My dad, a man with a lot of ambition and work-a-holic tendencies, would sit down on the couch every evening and tell me to go pick out two or three books that he’d read to me. I’d come back from the bookshelf with seven. However, despite the amount, he’d patiently and lovingly read every one of them to me. My favorites were always the princess stories.. you know, like The Princess and The Pea, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. I’d admire how these women would, after going through many ordeals, end up falling in love and living “happily ever after”.
The difference though is that I also believe that to attain this, I have to work for it, and so does everyone else. We cannot walk around and simply expect a fairy tale ending to fall on our laps. We cannot just wait for a fairy godmother to appear out of nowhere and grant us our hearts desires. But, if we strive, and believe, and do what we think is right… then I think and truly believe that we will have a happy life that we can look back later on with a proud smile. We’ll still have many, many tough times—times where we become disillusioned, and times where we give up hope—, those moments are part of living. But there will be moments that outweigh the sorrow. Moments of delighted joy, and relaxation, and transcending beauty. These moments prove that we are on our way to “happily ever after”. And that is why I believe in happy endings. That is why I will try as often as I can to enjoy what I do. I truly with all my heart believe in happily ever after.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.