“After all, it is fairy tales the world wants. Real life is all the ‘real life’ we want. Give us something better in books.” ~ L.M. Montgomery

Once upon a time. It’s a phrase we all know well, mostly because we have all read it more than once.

When we see it, certain expectations are raised.

We expect there to be magic.

We expect there to be trouble.

But most of all, we expect there to be a happy ending.

These expectations distinguish fairy tales from our real life experiences. In the fantasy worlds of our imagination, we get what we hope for.

In the real worlds of our experience, we often get other things.

Things that make our own stories seem less interesting. Less hopeful. Less happy.

As a result, we fail to see the magic in our lives.

When I reach this point, I realize it’s time for a rewrite. When the fiction I have been authoring in my head is not the one I am interested in reading or living, something needs to change.

I know my imagination can do better.

After all, we can only see magic if we expect to see it. If we don’t expect it, we fail to look for it.

So, let’s look for it.

But where to start?

Hmmm…how about here?

Today, once more upon a time, once more upon a week, a month, a year, I choose to find magic in my life. In the people I meet. In the opportunities I have. In the challenges I face. 

Once I say these words and make that choice…POOF!

Magic appears.

Instead of looking for a happy ending, I look for a happy beginning.

And I find it.

You see? We should never underestimate the power of hope to transform our lives.

Once upon a time may be a phrase we repeat to ourselves in order to escape our realities, but it can also be a phrase we use to rediscover the magic they contain. And we all need to rediscover their magic now and then, especially when we lose perspective.

In the end, I want my “real life” to be worth reading. I want it to be a story full of new beginnings and the hope they bring. I don’t expect a fairy tale, but I do expect to be happy.

And real happiness, well, that’s all the magic I need.