The “happily ever after” is the end-all, be-all, right? We meet our prince or princess, overcome some obstacle, vanquish our enemy, live happily ever after, build the ride at Disney World. The end.
Growing up we’re encouraged to look forward to graduations, birthdays, weddings, births, and all the other life events that happen along the way as part of a neat little packaged life that we’re all supposed to live.
No one talks about the things in between. The hard work you have to put in to make it to the graduation ceremony, the ones you’ll date before you meet “The One,” the time and effort necessary to plan a wedding and the preparations needed before a baby is born are nearly taboo. That’s not to mention what you’ll need to do after the fact to make your milestone worthwhile: the hours you’ll spend job searching, the compromises and hard work needed to keep a marriage together, the sleepless hours of baby wrangling, and all the other trials and tribulations along the way.
So why do we gloss over the important stuff? It’s certainly not a secret that hard work is needed to succeed. We glorify the end result instead of preparing for the work at hand. We have it in our minds that each milestone is a benchmark of our individual success and must come at a particular time in our life or else we’ve failed.
Life after college is full of these weird twists and turns that none of us ever expected. There’s always the ever-present ultimate #PostGradProblem: have a career, get married and start a family, all before your 30th birthday. Bonus points the earlier you do it. If you can make two of the three happen before you’re 25, you apparently get life’s gold star or something. That’s the only reason I can think of for so many people in my Facebook newsfeed running down the aisle and speeding off with a baby carriage.
And what about those of us who choose to pour our efforts into creating a career we love rather than spending our days chasing love of another kind? Are we risking that happily ever after we’re all supposed to crave? Maybe we’re just choosing to slow down and enjoy each step along the way.