By: Kyle Elden
When we hear the phrase “Happily Ever After” what typically comes to mind is finding the love of your life and living happily ever after just like the fairy tales depict. Oh the Cinderella complex, or the Grass is Always Greener complex how it can creep in and take over! I’m 32 years old, a single momma and a single woman. Last winter I was driving out for a snowy trail run with my friend Deb (also single at the time) and we were discussing how a few of our other friends had finally met the “one” and how happy for them we were. In the same breath though I lamented (half joking, half serious) “God, when will WE find OUR happily ever after!?!?!?!?” We both laughed and then began concocting the formation of our Happily Ever After Club – for single people who are happy being independent and single, aren’t looking to hook-up, but want to hang out and have fun together! We’ll go on trips, great runs, ski, out to eat, experience great music together, dance, bonfires, and on and on….we don’t NEED a partner to be happy and fulfilled! So, we followed through…invited other friends…over the months we had loads of fun! People came and went and came back again depending upon their relationship status. We made being single into a fun little joke of an exclusive club!
Through this little silly but sweet Happily Ever After Club and taking a good look at life and relationships I saw how much dysfunctional weight we put on finding the “one” – that, and in addition, thinking we’ll find that true HAPPINESS when we do find the one, or get that house, or finally have a family, or the job, or become more awesome, or rich, or sexy or fill-in-the-blank!!! Weaving into this a deeper spiritual practice and grounding myself in the sacredness that runs through all of life – I was feeling sad about needing to let go of someone I love deeply because the love was not reciprocated in the way I deserve and thus unable to be actualized – and I awoke one morning with continued prayers for healing and peace – and I walked out to the beach behind my house….soft sand cold and wet with dew on my bare feet, the lake still, a dark mirror reflecting a majestic orange sunrise – my heart filled to the brim, bursting with gratitude – tears of joy rolling down my face…..This is IT, this is HAPPILY EVER AFTER, every single day I’m alive! Life is a miracle, we only get one life, only get to live each moment once! And having loved, even with a broken heart in the end….you know what I’m lucky that I loved, and that I feel – even pain! It hit me in the gut with gale force, knocked the wind of dis-contentment and false seeking right out of me! Yeah life can be rough and tough, downright sad and heartbreaking – yeah, it’s okay to want certain things – to grow and create the life you desire! But God Almighty, if you don’t know that this IS happily ever after – that each day you wake up and open your eyes to see the beauty (and the ugliness both) that surround you, to look at your little daughter’s face and even fight with her about brushing her teeth and snarly hair, each day you walk across the floor to take a pee, that you can pee, that you can breathe – I mean breathe you are ALIVE! Holy moly, if I don’t know this – I mean let it really sink in and realize how absolutely blessed I am – well I’ll still be unhappy and discontent even with the “one” and the house and the great job and the blah, blah, blah blah! It is only thorough knowing this that we can fully appreciate all life has to offer and never put so much weight on any one or various external things that we think can magically make everything perfect….because guess what, it already is!!