Nicola Moriarty: Ignore the fairytales, find your own happiness

Nicola Moriarty, the author of Those Other Women, reflects on the meaning of 'happily ever after' and explains why she finds herself adding disclaimers to the end of fairytales.

Nicola Moriarty on fairytales

These days, the world is changing. Society is becoming more and more accepting of a new kind of normal. Of the fact that there are all different types of family units and there is no one ‘right’ way to create a family. And one of those big changes is the idea that maybe, you don’t need to create a new family at all. Maybe your happily ever after is you, on your own, walking your own path. Maybe travelling the world. Maybe having a kick-ass career. Or maybe just taking it easy, doing your 9 to 5 job and coming home to your own place and choosing to watch whatever the hell you want on television, eat whatever you want for dinner without having to compromise and basically living your own life.

I find myself wondering, if I was entering adulthood now, would I make a different decision about what I want out of life due to the way the world is now? Look, obviously I adore my partner and my two children and I wouldn’t give them up for the world. But sometimes I do wonder about what it would be like to have chosen a completely different path. To have absolute independence and autonomy. To answer to no one and to have total freedom to go wherever I want, whenever I want. Women who make the choice to stay child-free are often labelled as selfish, sometimes as brave. But I like to think of them as strong, independent women who are forging the way for there to be a new option of normal for the next generation.

These days when I read an old-school fairy tale to my children, I find myself adding disclaimers onto the end. Look, it sounds like Cinderella is happy and all, but just so you know, you don’t have to have a prince in order to live happily ever after.

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