There’s an unmistakable veil of electric excitement wrapped around my daughter’s almost four year-old self. She bunny hops through the house chattering about her Little Mermaid birthday pool party that despite all of her inquiries is not quite happening tomorrow.
She meticulously lays out her shiny purple and green swimsuit in agreement that we are saving it for her party so she can match Ariel.
Our birthdays are three days apart, and since she arrived into our family four years ago, naturally her genuine enthusiasm for her own celebration is in many ways my most cherished gift that graces every second week in September.
My Amazon cart is stacked with under the sea party favors, a Disney puzzle (this kid is a puzzling whiz), and accessories for her dollhouse. I could add another kindle book or crafting tool for me, but what I’ve chosen to give myself this year in celebration of another trip around the sun does not have a series of gold stars determined by a slew of customer reviews.
Happily Ever After is the comforting close to the Disney stories we know so well. You can picture the Old English font reel across the screen with a triumphantly epic musical score signaling all is well with the world. The prince found his princess and she has traded her tail in for a pair of sun-kissed legs.
Real life may not be wrapped up with such a perfectly looped bow.
A shift of tenses
I know at times I have found myself thinking or even hearing the words out loud, “I’ll be happy after…”
After I get this project off my to do list
After I’m more financially stable
After the house is back in order
After the kids are old enough to play by themselves in the upstairs playroom
But I’ve noticed what a small shift can do for my day and now perhaps the next year. I’ve made a deliberate effort to migrate over to “I’m happy now because…”
Because someone else wants my help to accomplish their goal
Because I had the courage to choose freedom
Because we are working to make this house more of our home
Because they still need me to be the project manager on the construction of a zoo out of Legos.
If you curve your focus to the present, you’ll find you can live happily ever after – Right Now.
Sometimes it might take an extra helping of imagination or a second glance, but happy can play a part of every scene.
Pick your cast members
Supporting characters can add depth and perspective to help paint a story’s picture. In keeping with The Little Mermaid theme that has blanketed our household, these would be the cast and crew in my new narrative – you know the story that won’t make me wait until the end to know it turns out happy.
Mindfulness is King Triton, the ruler, the voice of reason who looks out for my best interest and makes me focus on things I may have overlooked. Mindfulness is coaching me to be present and embrace life’s moments – the sweet, the silly, the hard, the messy.
Friends and family could be Flounder, Ariel’s loyal ally. A day does not pass without some sort of reminder about how truly blessed I am to be sharing this journey with incredible people who I am lucky to walk alongside. I’ve already hit the jackpot several times over. Thank you for supporting me as I embark on the adventure that is Soulments.
The final cast member is the Way of Life mobile app that is Sebastian, the informant who can get crabby if you don’t do what he asks. I use this app to track my daily wins like did I meditate, exercise, journal, spend time getting lost in play with my kids? It’s a reminder of what I’ve called out as important, what makes me most happy. It shows me the success in each day with a neatly shaded green box, and tracks where I may need to add balance. And what’s more, is it serves as a daily reminder that there was some element of goodness when the moon rises to close out the day.
And as a coral reef choir sings it best: “Such wonderful things around you, what more are you looking for?”