I have a weakness for fairy tales and magical adventures, especially the Cinderella kind. You know, the once upon a time where you wish upon a star and your dreams come true as you live happily ever after. Of course, life doesn’t always turn out that way, does it?! For some, maybe; for most, not so much. So the other day when I saw a little girl wearing a bright purple tee-shirt with this exact logo, “NOW IS YOUR ONCE UPON A TIME” it touched my heart and questioned my perspective on how to live life. It was an in my face dare kind of moment and one which everyone should heed.
I write this especially as a bit of free advice to all the fresh-faced, eager June graduates who are just starting out on their journey. (And, oh, how I envy you and wish I could do it over!) These things I have found to be true since I have moved back to the stern of the boat of life. The truth is you have to create your own storybook life. Your own once upon a time. You have to aggressively chase your dreams. It doesn’t just happen like in the fairy tales. You can’t just wait around wishing upon a star for, say, the perfect job to fall into your lap. You can’t make a better life for yourself if you stay locked up in that ivory tower scrubbing floors waiting for your fairy godmother to free you or for Prince Charming to come along. You have to awake from your slumber and rethink eating apples from strangers. You have to be bold enough to take that trip down the rabbit hole and discover a new wonderland. Face it, no one’s going to find your lost glass slipper and rescue you.
As you graduate, remember that today is the day your story begins. Right now. And the beauty of it is that each you get a chance to continue your story or begin anew. Keep trying and keep reinventing yourself. Remember that no one else will do it for you. At some point, fate will step in and see you through. And don’t get me wrong, I still believe in fairy tales but in a proactive kind of way.
You can still wish upon a star but be willing to reach up and grab it. If you lose your glass slipper, search until you find it, no matter how long it takes. Kiss the frog; stand up against the dragons and don’t be afraid to walk through the forest alone. Dare to dream but actively work as hard as you can to make your own wishes come true. Hopefully, your once upon a time will have a storybook ending and you’ll live happily ever after!