How the Happily Ever Project Began

If you'd asked my 7-year-old self what I imagined my dream 30-year-old life would be like, I would (after being thoroughly disgusted by the thought that I would someday be as ancient as 30) probably have said something to the effect of: "Married to my Prince Charming and decorating our castle in my glass slippers!"

After all, isn't that what childhood fairy tales teach little girls about getting one's happy ending? The only way to escape a tedious life of serving pint-size miners/pandering to horrendous stepsisters/turning one's unnaturally long locks into tower-climbing equipment is for Prince Charming to come along and whisk you away from it. From the moment we hear the words "Once upon a time", the seed is planted that Prince Charming has to gallop into our lives before we can "live happily ever after."

It's not that I don't believe in love. Being in love is a beautiful thing! What I don't subscribe to is the idea that happiness is contingent on how quickly Prince Charming swoops in and seals the deal. There is happiness to be found within yourself, and I would go so far as to say that true happiness in a loving relationship can be that much harder to keep if you haven't secured it for yourself first.

With this blog, my mission is to expand the definition of living happily ever after to include relishing the joy to be found in the here and now. Long before my special someone came along, I traveled the world, lived in the city of my dreams, and on occasion slayed a figurative dragon here and there—Prince Charming prerequisite notwithstanding. Wouldn't it be nice if my 7-year-old self could have known this was possible and come up with a more colorful dream somewhere along the lines of:

"When I'm 30, I would love to have skydived from an airplane,
gone swimming with whale sharks,
lived in three continents,
and had the luck to make the most exciting city in the world my home."

Because that's where I found myself at age 30 ... and if that can't count as one way of living happily ever after, then we really need to expand what that idea means, don't you think?

So what's your definition of happily ever after?