Happily ever after

Just another day at Cinderella's castle, Disneyland in Anaheim California, 2003

Just another day at Cinderella’s castle, Disneyland in Anaheim California, 2003

“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.”
Margaret Bonanno

Did you ever wonder why the fairy tales end when the happiness starts?  When the character slays the dragon or the enemy, saving the loved one or rescuing the world at large, the story usually ends (or at least stops for awhile until the sequel appears with a new problem at hand).  The details of living happily ever after are never given, and if they were, we would probably be bored.  In other words, living happily does not usually entail nonstop excitement.  I think that’s one reason for learning to savor the details we might normally miss in the rush of life.  When it comes to what we pay attention to, the squeaky wheel may command more than its fair share of our focus.  How much happier to notice the wheels that spin quietly, smoothly, efficiently — functioning so well we take them for granted.

This post was originally published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below.


  1. Ah, Julia, that’s brilliant!
    Instead of our goal being “to live happily ever after,” it would be “to live happily.”
    This minute.
    No wonder Jesus said not to worry about today. This minute has a beauty all its own, which we can perceive only right now.

    • Here’s a related quote from my personal favorite of the Beatles, George Harrison: “Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.” Back to Jesus, he said: “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Like so much of his divine wisdom, it’s simple, but exceedingly hard to practice.

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