We all know that “happily ever after” is a myth, but how many of us are unknowingly still live by it? And I’m not just talking romance.
- Once you’ve achieved a certain income, you’ll live happily ever after.
- Once you’re self-employed and no longer have to work for someone else, you’ll live happily ever after.
- Once you have the child you long for, you’ll live happily ever after.
- Once you have your dream house, you’ll live happily ever after.
- Once you retire, you’ll live happily ever after.
I think a lot of us have bought into this myth and don’t even realized we’re living our lives based on it. We give up enjoying the moment in order to chase whatever think we will make us live happily ever after.
After achieving a goal that we think will make us live happily ever after, it doesn’t take long before we start feeling dissatisfied. When this happens, we think there was something wrong with that goal we had just achieved, that it wasn’t enough. We then go on to seek out another goal that we think will make us live happily ever after. Sacrificing our lives to achieve it and then circling back to that familiar disappointment.
In reality we create our lives in cycles.
- We complete our initial education (one cycle). Then go on to create our career (the next cycle).
- We date and find our soulmate (one cycle). Then go on to create the life we want with our partner (the next cycle).
- We develop a career we love (once cycle). Then outgrow it and find the urge to try something new (the next cycle).
There is no one goal that once we achieve it, we’ll live happily ever after. If we embrace this natural cycle of creation, then when disappointment arrives, we know it’s just the first step to our next cycle. We can use that disappointment to help us find the next thing we want to create.
We sacrifice a lot for a goal we think will make us live happily ever after. If accomplishing it did just that, the sacrifice would be worth it. But if we look at goals as part of a continuous cycle—achieving and relishing one goal will eventually lead to new ideas and new goals—would we be willing to sacrifice in that same way? Or would we instead seek a way to attain our goals while still enjoy our life in the process?