My Musings

Happily Ever After

Second Wave (medical): The second phase of an infection. The Spanish flu a century ago was deadlier than the first

Why did Jane Austen stop short? She ends the books, where they could easily continue. They finish with the marriages, but we hear little (if anything) about what happens thereafter: Elizabeth & Mr Darcy, Emma & Mr Knightley, Anna & Captain Wentworth. All married. The end.

I reminds me of when James and I got married in 2012. On the way over to the reception, I updated my Facebook status:

“… and they lived happily ever after”.

I thought it was cute. Now I think it naïve.

In the Twilight novels, Stephanie Meyer shied away from any real action (which I quite liked. For example, when Bella got knocked unconscious and they just told her what happened, after the event). I recall a younger cousin saying that Meyer had “bottled it”. I think the film directors agreed, so much so that near the end of Breaking Dawn (Part 2) they had to create an action scene which didn’t occur in the book, which made me shake my head in the cinema (“no no no – Carlisle!”), until it all reverted to type to again.

Perhaps Jane Austen imagined that this was the peak of happiness: falling in love and getting married (she never married, herself. My shared birthday bud never did find the one). After all, what follows is called ‘the honeymoon period’. In a way, I quite like that Jane Austen didn’t add children. Disney rarely does either. It’s interesting what writers choose to omit. I know what I’m choosing to.

When my friend was going through a difficult time, she started writing a lot. So I bought her a journal, with the words: “The best is yet to come” and I truly believed that for her. I do not believe it for me. For I’ve recently come to realise this:

Disappointment comes from expectation

We had it so good, perhaps we already reached peak happiness. Ignorance, naivety all feed wonderfully into it. But then perhaps so do wisdom and gratitude, from what’s been before. Perhaps there’ll be a ‘second wave’ commensurate with this year.

I have experienced baby loss, wrapped in a pandemic, sat in a building site: I have met my match.

Though surely Saturday was my peak-low, my trough? I sincerely hope so. That was exceptionally rough. And it didn’t even seem to be centred around Summer, though she will always be the epicentre.

In another bout of insomnia last night, I found an email I sent to a different friend, years ago. And perhaps it’s time I took my own advice. Still referencing books, it seems I haven’t changed much:

P.S. In my head, your travels are all very Eat, Pray, Love and you know what? She’s happy at the end. So if you’re not happy, it’s not the end! Xx

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(1) Comment

  1. Karen Palmer says:

    Hello lovely Anjulie.
    I was trying to see if I could find the origin of “the best is yet to come”. I think when I heard it growing up, it was always meant as ” in the next life” and although that’s a hopeful thing, it maybe always doesn’t feel hopeful enough. But I think there’s also grounds to say that we can have a foretaste of that happiness now. So that is hopeful.
    Last year I bought a book purely because I knew I wasn’t going to like it – so that I could have a careful read of it to make sure I didn’t like it ( and I don’t). The idea of the book is that you would give it to someone who is considering a termination of pregnancy, and it would hopefully talk them out of it. It’s a beautifully illustrated, hard back, coffee table type book and purports to be ‘words from the womb’ – words your baby would say to you if it could speak.
    One of the things the unborn baby in the book says, that I take issue with, is “I will make you happy”
    Firstly – absolutely no guarantee of that.
    Secondly – I don’t think any child should bear the responsibility for its parents’ happiness, so it’s a morally suspect argument to use for that uncertain mother continuing the pregnancy.
    I know we’re all brought up with believing eg we should marry someone who will make us happy – but that too is unreasonable and unrealistic expectation and pressure I think. Have I told you this before? When my lovely man was depressed about 10years ago ( thankfully well now), I imagined that my capacity for happiness too was destroyed. And then someone very wise told me that I shouldn’t depend on anyone for happiness except God. And that was an amazing revelation, and made a world of a difference. And I was able to make a much better job of supporting him when I accepted that. There’s a Psalm in the Bible that says “My soul find rest in God alone” and that’s been a huge help to me. And has given me a sense of that “best” which is yet to come. The ‘life in all its fullness’ which is another Biblical promise ( John10:10)
    C.S.Lewis of Narnia fame says,
    “There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”
    I believe him xx

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