Dear Fairy Godmother,
I’ve been out in the world on my own for several years now. I’ve got a great career, a little place I’ve made my home, and a fantastic group of friends. By all accounts, I have a happy, successful life.
However . . .
It seems like all anyone asks is if I’ve found my Prince Charming yet. I understand that, for most of the world, happily ever after seems to entail a wedding at the very least. But I’m not sure that’s in store for me. I don’t have anything against the idea – I just don’t know if it’s in my future.
I don’t think my way is better or more correct. But how do I reconcile the different expectations I have for my life with the ones other people have for me?
It’s certainly true that many of the people in our lives have specific ideas of what happiness means and how best to accomplish it. Those expectations only become harder to navigate when they come from people who care about you, because you know if comes from a place of love. I’m afraid I’ve no concrete answer for how to approach this (just as there is no concrete answer as to what constitutes a happily ever after), but I will offer you the following three encouragments.
1. Be confident. At the end of the day, you are the only person who knows what will make you happy and your life fulfilling. Other people are welcome to share their opinions, especially if they are people you trust, but your life and choices are yours to decide. Own it.
2. Be candid. It may be that those people are trying to be supportive of what they think your goals are, without realizing that they’re actually something else entirely. Don’t be afraid to be honest about your plans. People can better support you when they know what you want out of life.
3. Be kind. It all comes down to a simple truth: Everyone has opinions. No two people hold exactly the same opinions. And while our opinions may feel obvious to us, they’re not always obvious to those around us. For a lot of people, sharing opinions is a way of expressing affection. They may not even intend for you to embrace that opinion, they’re just trying to say, “I’ve been thinking about you.” So when people share expectations that differ from yours, thank them for caring, gently correct them if you can, and hold tight to your convictions.
And don’t forget, never stop dreaming!
Your Fairy Godmother