Life is Not a Fairytale

Apparently I’m on a Disney-bashing kick lately, but I swear I don’t mean to be. I love a good Disney movie as much as the next girl. However, I hate this idea of “fairytales.”

So many people are obsessed with getting their own personal fairytale. Celebrities are especially bad about this. When Kim Kardashian was going through her 72-day “whirlwind” romance (as they called it at the time) she kept talking about the fairytale. She wanted her fairytale and she was finally (so she thought) getting it. Her wedding special, which I shamelessly watched at least twice, was even called “Kim’s Fairytale Wedding.” Afterward, when the marriage crumbled, she explained that she wanted the fairytale and got so caught up in that idea that she didn’t realize the relationship wasn’t strong. Even in this interview with Oprah about her new relationship with Kanye West, she’s still talking about how she thinks she’ll finally get her fairytale.

Then we move on to Exhibit B, Bethenny Frankel. I am not ashamed to admit that I have undying love for Bethenny Frankel. I think she’s honest, witty, and I like how she made her own success.

In fact, I’ve been reading her book Skinnydipping while in Florida, and will probably finish it in less than two days. Yes, it’s that good. But it seems that even sarcastic, tell-it-like-it-is Bethenny fell victim to the fairytale. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres about her failed marriage she said, “I really put it out there. I wanted the fairytale.”

Look, I think it’s great to have big dreams. I spend a lot of my day thinking about where I want to be in the next five, ten, and 20 years. I have no problem with trying to create your own dream scenario. But I don’t like this idea of  trying to live a “fairytale.” To me, it signals unrealistic expectations and the idea that your significant other should save you. Think about all of the elements you’ll find in a fairytale: Beautiful, likeable girl living a bad life. She meets a knight in shining armor who sweeps her away from her horrible life, and gives her everything she’s ever wanted. Maybe she even becomes a princess. Her life is perfect.

That’s a great story to watch when you’re home sick in bed one day, but it’s not something realistic to aspire to. Unfortunately, no man or woman is perfect, and no life is perfect. If you’re waiting for Prince Charming to come take you away, you’ll be waiting awhile. Nobody lives in a castle and has little woodland creatures serving them breakfast as they get ready for the ball (I’m combining stories here but you get my drift). It’s just not the way things go. If you wait your entire life for the absolutely perfect scenario, you’ll never find what you’re looking for.

Instead of obsessing over finding the dream man/woman and the dream life situation, why not be on the look out for a really, really good partner and a really, really good situation? Understand that your ideal match will have flaws. Maybe he’ll leave the toilet seat up or maybe she’ll get stressed out easily. Maybe your ideal life will include a great job that you love, but that’s far away from family. The point is that you don’t have to have perfect to have happy. And while you’re waiting for perfect to come, you’re not enjoying the times when you could be really happy.

Know that every relationship will have highs and lows. You’ll fight and go through rough spots. It’s normal. Know that every life will have highs and lows. You’ll score a job you love, you’ll get fired, you’ll find a great apartment, you’ll lose touch with a friend. These things are all part of being human. Unfortunately we weren’t characters created by Disney. We have to live with flaws and imperfections and mess, and the sooner we embrace these things and stop chasing “fairytale,” the happier we’ll all be.

Do you struggle with unrealistic expectations? How do you manage them?

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