In stories, once the protagonist's objective is fulfilled and enemies vanquished, the back cover immediately follows. In Cinderella, once she finally escaped from indentured servitude under her evil stepmother and disappeared into the horizon with Prince Charming, the story ends. Though I have yet to see or read the final installment in the Harry Potter series, I can reasonably suspect that after a series of perilous battles and suspense, Harry will inevitably avenge his parent's death. Aside from some pathetic attempts at poor sequels, most stories find a happy ending and close the story. As viewers or readers, we accept this conclusion and feel content to know that it all worked out.
In childhood, most chapters of life offer the same concise beginning, middle and end that we enjoy in our books and movies. The freedom of summer adventures comes to a close with school buses lining up to transport kids back to the classroom. School years begin with a mild review of previous knowledge, ramp up with a crammed exam schedule- the climactic moment of the story- and conclude with graduations and diplomas.
But not all stories offer the comfort of an absolute and tidy ending: when did I become an adult? Was it when I turned 18? When I graduated college? Moved out? Is it when I get married? Was it when I pared through my belongings and packed away the books and Barbies I'd left abandoned for months? Was it when I went to college?
And defining beginnings, middles and ends in the real world only gets more convoluted.
My initial plight was to rescue myself from my corporate job when I felt like I clocked hours spinning in circles, yet never building for the future I desired. After traveling for months down a bleak and winding path of interviews and networking, I shook hands with my new employer and gave notice to my former. After my last day, I celebrated with friends over an expensive bottle of wine I’d held on to specifically for that occasion.
...and I worked happily ever after.
But my story doesn't end there. Unlike Anne Hathaway in the Devil Wears Prada, my story doesn't end at a job offer after a tornado of a first position. And now that I have new job, I have to wonder whether this will be a brand new story, a cheesy spin off or nearly identical sequel.