If only we could just begin with the happy ending and have done with it, after all, that’s why we’re here. That’s why we get up every day – the quest for that happy ending.
None of us would get out of bed otherwise. And maybe that’s the happy ending – we’re still here, getting up, every day. Striving.
Because whatever the world might look like in 1000 years, as I was reminded, it doesn’t matter about the arbitrary number you set out there to measure the future; it’s the minutes and moments leading up to it that count. Whatever goal you set for yourself – whether to change your stars, set your whole life on a different trajectory, or just to get through the weekend – you can’t just take the happy ending, stick it at the beginning of your story, and claim it. Because every second leading up to that happy ending is integral to achieving it.
Without the striving it won’t happen. Without every back-breaking, soul-crushing minute in between, it cannot exist. As with every quest, there is bound to be dissonance with the way things are, lest why would you want to change them? There needs to be hope that something more glorious awaits, if only you travel the right path and negotiate the obstacles it sets out. You must have the determination to beat back the dragons along the way, steadfast in the knowledge that better days are ahead, if you make it.
Life is sent to try us, and if we had an easy ride to everything we wanted, we would never know that our struggles lead to endurance, which requires us to persevere. Perseverance begets character, and somehow, character gives us hope – that we who have struggled, will succeed.
The building of character and instilling of hope seems to be something which occurs regardless of the ending, and if our best endeavours leave us dead in a ditch somewhere, at least we know we will have gone in a blaze of glory, as a more well-rounded person.
I have always seen myself as something of a dim-witted, accidental stoic.
Historically, my track record suggests that despite not liking a situation and my position within it, I plod on, simply not realising there is an alternative. I have never had the imagination to stop the world and get off. By now, I think I must call it habit – that I endure and persevere, but without the awareness which might build character. Head down, I get on. And on. And on. And on with it. Even in the face of others who suggest that stopping the world and disembarking is the right thing to do.
Perhaps this is the price of egocentricity – that I am unable to see the truth in another’s eyes; that there is an alternative. Or perhaps I have always been too scared to rock the boat. Too afraid of the pieces which might fall out if I turned life upside-down and shook it. Hard.
The thing is, to make forward-movement (even with dissonance inspiring you with jangled chords) you need to be in possession of sufficient self-awareness to grasp the concept that things could be different, and begin to plan how you might get there. Without that, you’re on a treadmill of dashed ideals, wishing that *something* could change, never knowing really what.
Whilst it’s good not to have an ending that’s too precise (lest you set yourself up for disappointment when it doesn’t materialise the way you wanted), an amorphous ending does nobody any favours. Without a point to your endeavours, you are a quester in search of a cause. There is no point trying to change your stars for a happy ending if you won’t at least look up.
So look UP, already.
*I* finally have.
I am determined. I am sending ships out every day – new lines of enquiry; new intentions; developing plans; networking; connecting – and one day, my boat will surely come in, and the future will begin to appear on the horizon.
And I’m thankful. I no longer feel as though I am marking time, waiting. I have a goal, and though it might seem ridiculous, if the proving is in the journey, then I at least have something to aim for. That said, regardless of the future and my uncertainty about the ending, I AM committed to enjoying the ‘Now’s.
The ‘Now’s can be pretty damn glorious, too.
And perhaps there is the happy ending – unexpectedly, smack-dab in the middle of the story, as it still unfolds. Because every moment you live is the culmination of all those moments which went before. If it’s a good moment, then you win. And if it’s a bad one, then you know that change is inevitable, there’s another side (which you will get to), and in the meantime you’re building character, so you win anyway.
Have a happy ending. Right now.
And a good weekend.