You Can Still Be Happy

Growing up in public schools in the 80s and 90s, I heard a lot of this (maybe from hippie teachers? Maybe pop culture TV shows? Not positive which adults said these things, I just know they were programmed into my head):


‘Work hard and you will achieve your goals.’

‘You can do anything you set your mind to.’

Hogwash. But not in a bad way.

I just wish adults would have been more honest, realistic. I wish someone would have said, ‘Hey, you might work hard towards your dreams, and those dreams may not come true. And guess what? That is okay. You can still live a happy life, and have wonderful relationships, and experience magical things.’

Or, ‘Hey, life can really suck sometimes, and you may experience quit a bit of pain. But guess what? That is okay.’

Or, ‘You may not achieve your dreams, and you may watch one of your peers do immoral things and achieve the things you wanted most, while you don’t sleep your way to the top, and you end up in more of a mediocre situation. And that, too, is okay. You can still be happy.’

In one of my all time fave movies, “The Princess Bride,” The Man in Black (AKA Westley) says to Princess Buttercup, ‘Life is pain, Heiness  Anyone who says differently is selling something.’ When I was a kid and saw that movie, I recall thinking, ‘Well, Man in Black (who I only then *suspected* was Westley), that is quit a depressing way to look at the world. You should really be more of a positive thinker. Maybe then you would be a happier person.’

But today, as an adult, I get it. I get what he was saying.


PS. Super-duper-uper weird. When I went to go take a pic of my “Princess Bride” magnets to include in this post (they are on the refrigerator), my husband, who had absolutely no idea what I was doing (he usually doesn’t), just so happened to be in the kitchen, opening a box containing my new popcorn popper that had just arrived from the Amazon (website, not the jungle, in case you were wondering). I heard him say, ‘Cool. Buttercup.’ And I am like, ‘What!?’ (For those of you who don’t get it, watch “The Princess Bride.” And do it soon.)

He was referring to the piece on top of the popcorn popper where one can put butter to melt while the corn is popping. After I looked at him like, ‘How did you know I was just writing a paragraph about Westley and Princess Buttercup?’ He was like, ‘Cool Buttercup. The buttercup on your new popper doubles as a measuring tool for the seeds. That’s awesome.’

No. The telepathic universe is what’s awesome.


19 thoughts on “You Can Still Be Happy

  1. That’s one reason I’m not a teacher, I’m not a person to tell kids of any age that if they believe they can shit rainbows they will! I try to give my children confidence, they must work hard for everything they want, and they still may not get it. Hope that doesn’t make me sound like a Debby Downer. LOL

  2. INCONCEIVABLE!!!! And it was at one time in your life.

    It seems like you and your husband are to blave. Oh wait. You have found true love, demonstrated by that mind meld he demonstrated. Cool tile floor, by the way. And it’s nice to see he has a knife at the ready to defend himself.

  3. #1 – I agree wholeheartedly about the “live your dream” schlock pushed on kids without the added caveat of “sometimes things don’t happen like you want so learn to work hard and be happy with what you have instead of unhappy with what you don’t have”

    #2 – When people talk about dream and making them come true I want to say “Oh yeah? Which one? The one where it’s dark and I’m being chased by some undefinable scary thing. Or the one where I show up naked to school. Or maybe the one where I’m playing with a basket of puppies and then HOLYSHITBALLSOFFIRE THEY MORPH INTO MONSTERS! Oh that last one is just me? OK” Because if real dreams come true we’d all be screwed.

    #3 – I’m impressed you bought an air popper. I’m just too damn lazy. But I totally know about both buttercups.

    • Haha! I have actually seen a TV show (I think an episode of ‘Supernatural’?) where they showed a unicorn pooping rainbows. It was an awesome visual that I will carry with me for always and always.

  4. Hi Punky. As you were kind enough to pop over to my blog, I figured I would stop by and say hello.

    I remember being aged 8 and our teaching giving our class that whole “you can do anything you set your mind to” speech. The weird kid in our class put his hand up and asked if he would be able to move things with brain like Matilda.

    She said no. She lost all credibility with us after at.

    I can neither confirm or deny whether or not I was that weird kid (…I was).

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