My 17-year old daughter, Emily recently said to me “Mom I don’t believe in happily ever after anymore. But maybe there is happily in between.”
Hmmm. It took me but a second to think, “Yup, she’s right”. Since then I’ve pondered what that means and what that would look like: this happily in-between. Not a believer in happily ever after, my initial response was “if it kills off notions of little girls looking for their princes to live happily ever after I’m all for that”. I suspect happily in-between is not that simplistic or narrow in focus. Rather, I suspect it’s much more than that. Does it do away with the culture of being present and living in the now? Not completely. Being present and living in the now is part of it. Yet, I think the greatest impact of dissing happily ever after and moving on to happily in-between is that doing so has the power to destroy the idea that at some fixed point in time all will be well and then we’ll live happily from that moment forward. If that is eliminated it creates the possibility that many of the days we are living right now may hold happiness in them. And during those moments or periods in time where we feel as we’ve been sucker punched and steam rolled, when hope eludes us and it is an effort to remain vertical perhaps thinking of our lives as having periods of happily in-between will sustain and enable us to better weather our storms. If there isn’t one fixed moment or event in time we are striving to reach then perhaps the every day victories and foibles and having someone to share them with will become our happily in-betweens. Holidays and get–togethers, quiet times, and who knows what will be occasions for joy and remembered as another of those happily in between times. And we will realize how many really good days make up our lives and we will live happily in-between.