What Comes After “Happily Ever After”

There are so many moments in our lives where we find ourselves standing at the edge of a cliff, a leap of faith calling out to us, and the lingering question of whether or not to take it agonizingly tossing and turning in our minds until we finally make our decisions. For anyone who knows me, or anyone who reads this blog, I don’t need to remind you of my stance on the topic. But just in case … I am and have always been a true advocate for leaps of faith and following in your dreams.

My advice has always been to take it. Calculate all you want, assess the pros and cons even, but for the love of God just jump. I guess it’s because I’ve always believed that there must be a reason as to why we found ourselves standing at that cliff in the first place. Really, the outcome can only go two ways: we either make it, which in that case would be a risk worth taking, or we don’t, which would be a potentially hurtful yet forcefully strengthening lesson learned.  But at that point, it all comes down to the question of what do we have to lose? Or better yet, what do we have to gain?

Via Flickr: Compact.Girl

For as far back as stories on leaps of faith go, we’ve all heard as well as told the tales of the struggles we’ve faced when our hopes to reach a greener side fell a little short. But what about those of us who actually made it? What happens next?  Even a Disney lover like myself knows there is far more to a story than “happily ever after.”

So three months ago, I took my leap of faith, got married, moved half way across the world, and found my happily ever after (which actually does kind of resemble the ending of a Romantic Comedy that leaves you with that warm, fuzzy feeling inside). And that warm, fuzzy feeling of “I did it, I actually made it, I’m finally where I want to be,” is one you’ll absolutely love dwelling in for as long as you can.

But that’s just it. When you’re standing up there on that cliff, in the moment you imagine the glorious place you want to be, do you actually know what that place even is? Whether it is getting married to the man of your dreams, landing your perfect job after college, finally moving to the city you wanted to moved to when you finished one phase of your life or other, it’s easy—and actually encouraged—to paint an ideal mental image, set a goal and work toward it with all we have in us. But aside from a set of ideals, do any of us really know what it looks like on the other side of a leap of faith?

When the “I did it” cloud eventually clears, you will suddenly find yourself staring right into a new beginning. You will realize that a leap of faith is not only a happily ever after, but a whole new story, and that can be just as scary as the decision to jump in the first place.

So when I first arrived in my new life, I expected to know exactly what to do and when to do it. I thought that after this success, I would once again ease into a rampage of achieving all of my goals and magically reaching all of my dreams, as I had been doing before I leapt. But it’s not that easy. It’s not supposed to be that easy.

In all of my honesty in revealing the other side of Happily Ever After, I’m afraid I may be scaring off those of you who are standing at the cliff as you read this. But, by all means, don’t stop! Jumping into the arms of a dream you’ve always hoped to follow is the most wonderful experience you may ever come across in your life. And when you finally feel the overwhelming bliss of accomplishment, the struggle of every step along the way becomes so worth it.

Don’t stop, not for a second. But once you land, remember …

Remember who you are despite the unfamiliar norms and expectations that will hover around you.

Remember that it’s ok to stop for a minute, take a step back, and let your new surrounding sink in before you hit the ground running.

Remember to take the time to learn. And in a foreign atmosphere where you’re beginning all over again, you are bound to learn something new everyday.

Remember that despite your potential craving for a bit of empathy, no one will understand the transformations you are undergoing better than yourself, nor should you expect them to.

Remember that just because you left behind the people, places or things that made up your comfort zone, you are not alone. You are never alone.

Remember to enjoy it – every minute, every new encounter, every one of your “firsts” in this new experience. It keeps the warm, fuzzy feeling always lingering in the air.

Most of all, remember that you cannot expect yourself to begin where you left off before taking a leap of faith, because that strong, passionate, brave decision to jump in the first place only proves your ability to bring yourself up again and again and again.  And what better time to bring yourself up than right now … as a beginning to your Happily Ever After.

: : : You can take everything I have. You can break everything I am like I’m made of glass; like I’m made of paper. Go on and try to tear my down. I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper : : :

— Skyscraper, Demi Lovato —



Filed under Food For Thought, Growing Up, Mind, Body, Soul

3 responses to “What Comes After “Happily Ever After”

  1. kimmyduh

    You are a very brave person. And this was just what I needed to hear…well read. :3 Thank you.

    • I’m glad you liked it! We all have to be brave at one point or other. It’s all part of getting what we want. Don’t ever lose that.

  2. I have reread this a million times. It’s perfect. and honestly one of the only things keeping me sane at the moment.

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