Waiting for the (happy) ending

happily-ever-afterHave you ever noticed that the ending of a movie is typically only the beginning of something? Romantic comedies end when “they” get each other, action movies end when the bad guy is gone and horror movies usually leave an open end for unlimited follow-ups. The real stuff starts afterwards only – the relationship, or the life without the bad one, or the real horror (well, that will probably be covered in parts 2 to 487 then). But no one wants to watch that, really.

Although the approach to let something end with a resolved problem and then never encounter new problems ever again is very likely not applicable in real life, we quest for at least trying it. Whether in our love lives or our careers, we wait and crave for our goal, our destination to reach: the one to love, the one career to start. And then? What happens if we find it? No one is gonna pull the curtains and leave the rest up to the vivid imagination of our secret audience. We must face part 2 ourselves. Go through it. And eventually set new goals to reach.

Being “in between” an achieved goal and the next one to find makes us insecure and uncertain. The sheer panic that owns us shortly before graduation or when a relationship ends might just come from the image that is planted in our brains by the movie industry: the happy ending. But there is no ending! I don’t even want an ending ’cause that would mean finito for everything. The ending comes at the end only, and that’s a good thing, right?

So why do we stubbornly stick to this unhealthy yearning for the end? Our life is a journey, living it with all its ups and downs is our happy “ending”. Actually, how sad would it be to be only happy in the end, anyways? After like what, say 120 years of suffering and playing the “come, get me”-game, we would finally get our happy ending, the curtains fall – no, thanks. I want to have a happy journey. Who cares about the ending?

Well, we do, sometimes. We even seem to be waiting for it, instead of enjoying the ride. And the most significant proof of this is the famous sentence after a failed relationship (where fail would not be my first word of choice): “I wasted X weeks/months/years of my life, for NOTHING!” Well. This is wrong in so many ways. Do you ever say that about a book, when it’s over? You might argue now that it is more like a book that you read half way, and then someone takes it away from you – but I disagree. A relationship is over when one of the (usually) two people involved doesn’t want to anymore. Therefore, the story ends.

The only acceptable definition of time waste: Cleaning.

The only acceptable definition of time waste: Cleaning.

Do we complain when we graduate that our studies are over and we wasted our life with them? No, we celebrate the fact that we learned a lot, had a great time, and now move on to the next adventure in a new era of our life. Why not see relationships like that? Frankly speaking, it is highly unlikely that both you and your (potential) partner will enjoy challenging, fulfilled careers, lots of travelling, a happy marriage, great house and lovely kids, and live happily together until you die, preferably on the same day. Most probably nowadays, together with the rapidly changing technology, living environment, working places and our own mind, it is more likely to have a partner for a certain part of our lives only. Which doesn’t mean it has to be less intense or meaningful. Or that we should throw it away as soon as it becomes uncomfortable. But if we saw relationships less as an investment of which we expect a great return in the end, it would maybe take the pressure away as well.

If we accept the fact that actually each aspect in life is part of the journey, we might be more happy after all. And yes, maybe even in the very end. 

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