As a little girl, I believed in fairy tales.
I believed in Prince Charming.
And I was convinced that just when I needed him most, he would appear on his mighty steed, sweep me off my feet, and deliver me to safety within his fairy tale castle.
Then life happened. Blow after blow after blow to my idealistic beliefs finally brought me to the conclusion that maybe the naysayers had been right all along – Prince Charming simply did not exist. With my head hanging and an errant tear running down my cheek, I was forced to let go of my childhood fantasies and face reality.
Here’s the thing about fantasies. And dreams. And hopes. Since they resonate deep within our psyches, regardless of how many times we shoot them down, they pop right back up. They simply refuse to die.
So, this morning while I was staring out the window at the eastward moving clouds, I remembered once believing in Prince Charming. The way the morning sun peeked out between the clouds and cast golden rays across the heavens somehow made me think about past hopes and dreams – even those that never materialized such as the elusive Prince Charming. The memory of those beliefs, however, brought a smile to my lips as I felt the warm, safe feeling that had accompanied those childhood expectations.
And then, a sudden realization struck me – Prince Charming was not mythical and he certainly was not dead. Regardless of how many times I tried burying him, he was alive and well. I just didn’t recognize him because he looked different than I imagined.
Instead of being a handsome prince, he’d taken on a different form; several different forms, actually. My brother and sister-in-law, for instance, who have helped me financially; my daughter-in-law who took me out to Applebees and surprised me with flowers; my daughter who bought me a gym membership so we could work out together; my son who took me for an afternoon to the beach, just the two of us. My best friend who has been bathed in my tears over the 25 years I’ve known her who still answers the phone when in a shaky voice I ask, “Do you have a few minutes?” Knowing she’s in for another down pour, she once again tenderly responds, “Sure. What’s wrong?” The ladies at the Women’s Resource Center who tell me I’m beautiful and marvelous and so very talented that I’m sure to get that dream job!
So many times we miss the real thing because we’re looking for it to appear in a specific way or form or time so, even when its right in front of us, we look past it. In our never ending search for love, we fail to see that it’s already there.
Just as my view of Prince Charming has changed, my definition of a fairy tale life has also evolved. I used to think it would be one without problems – a picture perfect life consisting of one happy event after another. But now I define a fairy tale life as one spent doing what I love.
My life is not perfect, but it’s the path I’ve chosen. Every day I make it a little bit better, aligning it closer and closer to my values, priorities and goals. It’s a work in progress, for sure, but little by little, I’m creating the life I want.
I read, I write, I craft, and I design interiors. My websites, although not perfected, are up and running. I’m showcasing my work. I’m being authentic. I’m living my life with passion and purpose. That’s my definition of a fairy tale life. While I used to envision it in terms of comfort and ease, I now measure it according to the satisfaction and fulfillment I feel after a long day.
Okay, so I also have a day job working in retail. Not my idea of a fairy tale job. But it pays the rent so I do what I have to do, and then use my off-work hours doing what is meaningful. It’s not a life of ease, but it feeds my soul.
So, yeah, I believe in fairy tales.
I believe in Prince Charming, too.
He shows up every day in the hugs and kindness of those dearest to me and I see his character and values lived out in those I love. Last night I was invited to dinner with two couples from church. I swear I saw Prince Charming mirrored in their smiling faces. As they genuinely asked me what made me tick, I felt validated; accepted; appreciated.
So, do you believe in fairy tales?
Do you believe in Prince Charming?
Well, you should because if you look closely enough, I bet you’ll see him in your life, too.