You Can Have Your “Happily Ever After” Even If You Don’t Believe In Fairy Tales

When you were a little girl, you probably dreamt about living “happily ever after” with a prince and a castle. These days, you probably dream about scrounging together enough money for a dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Of course, that doesn’t mean that your standards have dropped — it just means that the reality of life has set in. Storybook endings are BS, but these 10 things are definitely part of a real happy ending.

  1. An affordable apartment. You’re not greedy — you don’t need a castle. You’d be happy with an apartment with a kitchen, a bedroom, a bathroom, and maybe even an office. Not struggling to pay the rent would be a bonus.
  2. A job you don’t hate. Your dream is to sing on Broadway, but you’d settle for singing on a cruise ship. At least that would mean that you’re in the field that you want to be in. Too many people major in one area and then forget all about their passion. You don’t want to end up like that.
  3. Free time. Juggling a job, a relationship, and a social life is hard work. Getting to see your gal pals once a week would be a blessing. That’s all you need to de-stress and get ready for the next hectic week.
  4. Good health. When you’re little, you never think to tell adults that you want to be healthy when you grow up, because you expect to live forever. Well, now you know better. Any day without a stuffy nose or an STD is a good day.
  5. A decent paycheck. You don’t need enough money for a yacht. You just want enough to visit the Eiffel Tower at least once. And it couldn’t hurt to have enough cash to buy a round of beers whenever you hit the bar.
  6. Frequent sex. All of those storybooks you read as a kid talked a lot about love, but they never mentioned anything about sex. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a commited relationship or if you’re banging someone new every night — as long as you have good sex in the morning, how could you have a bad night?
  7. Bearable acquaintances. Families can fall apart, friends can become frenemies, and coworkers can be bitchy. That’s why your happily ever after should include getting along with the people you’re forced to see every single day. Life is a whole lot easier when the people around you are actually pleasant.
  8. The basics to survive. Mastering a recipe, balancing your checkbook, and keeping the toilet clean are the finer things in life. No little girl dreams of growing up to become average at cooking, cleaning, and managing finances, but all of us adults know that that constitutes as a happy ending.
  9. A fit body. Just because you haven’t come down with a deadly disease yet doesn’t mean that you’re actually in shape. That’s why it would be nice if you could find time to fit the gym into your schedule. Being able to climb a set of stairs without panting is always a plus. And abs couldn’t hurt.
  10. A man (or woman) who loves you. Well, those fairy tales got something right. Even though you don’t need a relationship to be happy, it can certainly help you out. Finding your prince (or princess) is the perfect way to complete your happy ending.
Holly Riordan is a writer from Long Island, New York who has authored several science fiction and horror books. A graduate of Stony Brook University, she has spent nearly a decade writing for publications including Thought Catalog, Huffington Post, Teen Vogue, and more. You can find her on Instagram @hollyrio and Twitter @hollyyrio.