As lockdown begins to ease and come to an end, it got me thinking about life, and how it is simply like chapters in a book.
As young girls we are taught to fall asleep dreaming of fairytales, where the princess is usually rescued in some way and when she is, her and her prince live happily ever after. The End. But what kind of a message is that portraying? As a teacher when I teach traditional fairytale stories I also teach ‘alternative fairytales’ which paint the characters in a different light and highlight a new importance. However, how many of us still look for that ‘Happily ever after?’ For that great job, that beautiful house, the wedding day, that Prince.
Perhaps life is not a traditional fairytale structure. Perhaps it was never meant to be.
(If you go back far enough you will see that the original Brothers Grimm were a lot darker than the Disney versions we have been exposed to).
What if instead of just having one happily ever after you had lots of opportunities for a happily ever after?
What if you had the opportunity for a happy ever after in each chapter of the story, not only the final pages?
What if it’s not even about a happily ever after but about a happily right now?
If we think then of life like a story book, with different chapters in it, there will be a mixture: of good and bad chapters, happy and sad chapters, chapters that make you nod in wise agreement, chapters that literally make you laugh out loud, or chapters that bring a tear to your eye and make you question what the author is even thinking.
Sometimes new chapters open when you least expect them to. Sometimes they are thrust into your life without warning or desire for them. Take strength in knowing that you are strong enough and capable enough to turn the pages. They wouldn’t come your way if you couldn’t.
Similarly, chapters can end without warning too. Perhaps when you are in the midst you cannot see why a chapter would end like that, but in time, as the story goes on, you will see why. Perhaps it taught you something, about yourself, about other people, about life. And though it is scary that a chapter you loved can close and end and a character that you loved no longer exists in your story, so it is true that those hard, heartbreaking chapters will close too.
It is likely that there may be difficult chapters in your life, ones that you do not wish to re-read again and again. Ones where it was difficult to keep your eyes open and not try to flick the pages ahead to the next one. But as you go through it, know that this hard, difficult chapter will not last forever. I think there is something comforting in that.
And as you close a chapter you have an opportunity – To take whatever you need, leave whatever you don’t.
When I think of my story in the last year or two alone, I can see these different chapters, good and bad: The Spain chapter, The Break-up chapter, The Solo Travel chapter, The Australia chapter, The lockdown chapter. And as the lockdown chapter is ending and the pages are nearly all turned it makes me look ahead to the next chapter.
As your lockdown chapter ends, what will you take with you into the next chapter?
My advice would be: enter into your next chapter with an open mind. Ready to feel all the feels that it may bring, ready to throw yourself into every opportunity that may come your way, ready to learn every lesson that you can learn. Ready to live. Be present. Live in each chapter, in each moment and enjoy the narrative. Be the author of your own life.
Be ready to embrace all that will come your way in the next pages.
Remember that you are the heroine of your own story. And each person, the main protagonist of theirs.
Sometimes in life stories come together, sometimes a lovely thing will happen and you will share chapters. A chapter in your story will also be a chapter in theirs. Maybe the chapter will end but it does not erase those chapters. They will always be there, they will always be part of your story.
So think about your next pages as we come into this new time, post lockdown. Live your story as well as you can, make it a chapter you want to read and re-read and share with others, as a great storyteller does.
Your life is the greatest story ever told. Do not skip through the chapters. Live each one.
The next chapters of your story could be a real page turner…
The Wee Wanderer xoxo