Once Upon A Time

It’s hard to come to that halting screech of realizing you are indeed an adult. In a world where decisions have to be made, relationships have to be tediously and carefully nurtured, bills must be paid, dreams must be selfishly pursued or hopelessly left to die, babies must be held high like Simba to be put first and always first, bills must be paid, bodies must be maintained or else succumb to flabby, fluffy shadows of their youth and partners must be chosen with intentions of remaining together forever (forever? Fo’ eva? Eva? Fo’eva? Eva?) Did I mention bills must be paid?

We are all being pushed into the future. Ready or not. Pushed while we stand with toes raised to the sky and heels digging into the earth while we turn our heads backwards, sideways, up and down while searching for the guide of happiness which will make our  forward, our pending future seem a little less frightening.  Most of us aren’t ready. “Wait! Wait! This is happening too quickly. Did you read my script? Excuse me? Excuse me? What’s my motivation?

The scripts of our internal fairy tales of “Once upon a time” make living, loving and maturing a bit more confusing and hard.

We tell ourselves “Once I graduate college, I’ll be happy. Once I lose this weight I’ll be happy. Once I find my perfect man, I’ll be happy. Once I get rid of this man, I’ll be happy. Once I quit smoking cigarettes, I’ll be happy. Once I make amends with my father, Ill be happy. Once I buy this house, I’ll be happy.  Once I get this job, I’ll be happy. Once I go on vacation, I’ll be happy. Once, he says he’ll marry me, I’ll be happy. Once I get this divorce, I’ll be happy.  Once everyone sees my talent, my film, my show, my art, my writing, my voice, my face, my body, I’ll be happy.”

I see the rehearsals of the fairy tale “Once I…” in people twice my age and even still in those half my age. I see it everyday in myself. God damn, does anyone attain their happiness? Does the journey of life ever get easier, less scary and desperate?

I suppose those wishes are legitimate.

I suppose those higher desires are indeed ideals that act as our guides to our better selves, right?

Or are we forever living with a carrot before our eyes? Are we missing the point and poignance of our here and now?

Share your thoughts below…

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14 thoughts on “Once Upon A Time

  1. Thank you for sharing Shanti! I have been thinking a lot about this lately. Soon to be 23 and trying to figure out why the heck I’m here (aka my purpose). I’ve been trying to understand if happiness is even something we should even be pursing. Like happiness is not a state of being, it’s an emotion/mood–should we really be living life trying to feel a single emotion? We will experience a lot of happy moments in life based on the things we do and the people we meet, but I don’t think we should ultimately try to seek happiness. But also redefining what happiness even means–that it doesn’t necessarily have to mean a nice house, a spouse, a nice car, etc. I don’t know…I’m trying to figure out a way to live a life where at the end of the day I can look back and say I lived my life fully for me–where I grow and learn, and grow some more. And to grow and learn…sometimes that requires tears and pain.

    • Preach! I kind of got an answer to this question last night while watching my daughter dance. I was like ok, I get it. Its in moments like this. I felt a wave of gratefulness fill me. I suppose we should have that same ease and attention in our moments of sorrow and stress as well huh? To be 23 and thinking this way is great. Keep up the hard work.

  2. Shani, you are truly blowing my mind these days!! I’m going to have to sit with this for a few days and fully take in the truth of this post.

  3. A healthy balance of goal setting and living in the present would be great. I have found I feel true happiness when I know in my heart I am in the right place doing what I am supposed to be doing. It is only since I became a mom that I have learned how to listen to my insticts. That little voice inside guiding me got really loud and obvious and I am now able to apply it to all aspects of my life. Just listen to your gut, or your heart, or your god, whatever you call it…LISTEN!

    • Monica!!!!! Yeah, I am trying to be obedient. Listening and trusting yourself is a practice and requires strength and faith. Thanks for contributing…

  4. I’m starting to think about how much we all need a coach as we grow into adulthood… matter a fact a drill sergeant. Next on the agenda, how to develop the coach in us, for us and by us.

  5. Happiness is here and now. We just need to have the courage to reach out and grab it. Yes we should always strive and desire to create that life we envision, but we have to remember that happiness isn’t a thing that lives in that distant place. It is created through our actions. Happiness is love of oneself and of others. And everyday that we take a step to creating our vision, we are creating happiness, in abundance, so we can share with others.

  6. The Buddha would be nodding with you in agreement right about now. 🙂

    1) Impermanence is a fact of human existence.
    2) The only true happiness is found in the here and now.

    A lot of internal suffering and conflict could be sidestepped if more people really understood these two concepts. Of course, daily life being what it is, it’s very hard to remember and stay conscious. As someone who is far too easily distracted (and, consequently, frustrated), I’ve become a great believer in doing whatever works. For example, the rubber band on the wrist technique is quite effective. *snap* “Pay attention! Be here now!” 🙂

  7. I was just perusing your blog and saw the “Once I…” and had to stop and read that paragraph. I still have those moments but I’m aware that none of those things will make me happy…my happiness starts here and now. I mean granted as I accomplish each goal and as my dreams come true it will definitely make me happy but I don’t want to put off my happiness based on an event happening. That’s why I like stopping by this blog…it doesn’t stop with hair, it relates to other issues we’re all experiencing as women. Thanks for sharing!!!

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