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"Happily Ever After" Means...
What does the phrase "happily ever after" mean? It's a fairy tale cliche used to end many a story that would seem to continue on without a hitch, but it carries with it a different meaning to all those who use it. This became especially apparent to me after watching Disney's The Princess and the Frog. In the movie, Tiana's life dream is to open a restaurant, and she works hard to save up enough money to buy an old sugar mill to convert into one. Prince Naveen, on the other hand, wants to maintain his wayfaring lifestyle by marrying Tiana's wealthy friend Charlotte. The plot demands that Prince Naveen learns hard work and responsibility from Tiana while she herself learns from him how to take it easy once in a while - and as per Disney tradition, they fall in love and get married after only knowing each other (and barely tolerating each other's presence at first) for a few days. Being a hardworking Disney princess character, one would find her attitude refreshing - but no, the tradition demands that a woman's life is not complete without a man. So, even though you think you know what you want out of life and are on your way to achieving it, the powers that be can always step in and change things up on you at any time, whether you're a real person or a fairy tale character. That being said, I have compiled a list of what could possibly be considered "happily ever after" by some or most people.
*Not having any significant problems for the rest of your life
*The rest of the world doesn't end up collapsing around you or dragging you down with it
*The storyteller has run out of ideas
*World peace has been achieved
*Your life is karmically sound forevermore
*You have found inner peace and stability
*You have all you need to live a good life and not want for anything
*Not living a condemned or cursed life in which you are treated with indifference or disdain
*You have achieved your life's goals and can ride into the sunset with a sense of fulfillment and completion
*No one can hurt you anymore
*You have no reason to complain
*The world opens up for you and obstacles are conquerable or otherwise remain out of your chosen path
*The rest of the story is not worth telling or is still in the making
*You understand what is truly important in life and have been able to claim it as your own
*For the love of all things holy, don't make a sequel!