There’s no such thing as a happy ending.

Tanya Tinney
6 min readNov 3, 2020


I don’t believe in happy endings.

Wow Tanya, you’ve certainly become a hardened nut growing on this Tree-of-Life thing, haven’t you? “ I hear you think to yourself. <I have a creepy-good ability to imagine what someone else might be thinking>

Bear with me folks, this is not as bad as you might fear.

Let me explain my personal-brand-of-logic on the topic of ‘Happy Endings’ ( get your mind out of the gutter, please), and it goes like this:


2. Whatever we are going through is simply just the time between now and a definitive end point — which we hope we will like.


3. Happy endings are things that happen to us (hopefully), but are not necessarily created or controlled by us.


4. We all have a similar definition of ‘happy.’

So, by this logic, ‘Happy Endings’ are sort of a lottery-like system, that we purchase a ticket for, hope and pray that we get the outcome we’d most desire, and is something most of us desire, too. Just a ‘lucky few’ are victorious.

Now, before you call in the anti-depressant prescription, please believe I’m not a completely sad, hard-hearted, world-weary woman.

I mean, haven’t we all wished for the movie-perfect ending where the hero comes galloping up on his horse, the most perfect sunset behind him, enjoying a gloriously passionate kiss in his warm, strong, safe embrace? <cough, cough… was that just me?>

Image: Devanath Pixabay

It’s a lovely idea though, isn’t it? But that is just the thing: ‘Happy Endings’ are an idea more than they are reality.

As someone who has been kicking around for close to half a century looking for her own ‘happy endings’ knows (get your mind out of the gutter, seriously!), what we think will be the end is usually just the beginning.

A beginning for which we are often terribly unprepared.

Time for a real-life story …

Many moons ago, I was watching one of those Keanu Reeves + Sandra Bullock movies from the Speed franchise with my younger brother. We were both well into our twenties, and we were both single at the time. (Obviously, we were wild-ones).

If you’ve watched any of these movies, you’ll know that at the end there is usually some type of unbelievable smash-’em-up-complete-chaos-and-mayhem-scene. Well, as the movie we were watching came to an end, Keanu and Sandra stand up amidst the rubble, take one look at each other and fall into a romantic embrace.

Ah. The ‘happy ending’. The one we all hoped was at the end of the adrenaline-rush of destruction and mayhem. The ending that wrapped up all the craziness into a tidy, romantic, rose-colored bow.

And my reaction?

“Yeah, right. Like right after experiencing that much trauma those two would look into each others eyes and start kissing! Realistically, they should be rocking in a corner being blubbering messes.”

<Or something like that.>

Point is, I totally burst the ‘happy ending’ bubble.

My brother just looked at me like I was some sort of psycho. “Seriously? You just had to ruin a perfectly good movie ending with your over-analyzing.”

I just shrugged. “Well, it’s true. That is SO unrealistic.”

He grudgingly agreed with my point. I grudgingly agreed to keep my lips sealed next time we watch a movie.

But seriously, they would need So. Much. Therapy. If that was real life.

My point is, this all seems so analagous to what is happening in the U.S. this election year.

The hyper-focus on the election as a ‘Happy Ending’ moment. The anticipation of the ‘hero’ being voted President. And the dream that once that moment becomes reality, all will be right with the world.

The ‘enemy’ will be defeated.

<Cue the warm, mushy, safe feels>

This is where the made-for-tv-movie ends. The band is playing, the hero is waving. There is confetti everywhere.

People who voted for him are happy, celebrating, hugging. Tears of joy and champagne are flowing.

But much like the movie ending I described above, the camera spends no time recording the heartbreak, hand-wringing or fear.

There is no time to waste focusing on the injured, the rubble, or the amount of time and resources it’ll take to clean up the mess.

Nevermind the psychological toll.

Because the hero always wins, the right are righteous, and everyone else is simply collateral damage.

There has been so much trauma over the past four years. So much hatred, division, discord.

The rubble is already all around us. Smoke rising. Destruction everywhere.

Some of it the result of natural disaster, much of it man-made.

And yet we are lulled into this false sense of trust that, miraculously, there can and will be a ‘Happy Ending.’

Image: Free-Photos Pixabay

Of course, there are those who would argue that just like Schwarzenegger in The Terminator movies, there IS ALWAYS A GOOD GUY AND A BAD GUY, and the options in this election are no exception.

Which means, of course, that there is a very good chance that the ‘good guy’ will win, and we will get our happy ending afterall.

However, the important distinction being real life is not so black-and-white no matter how much we wish it to be so — ‘good’ and ‘bad’ is interpreted based on a variety of seemingly random factors like policies, experience, religious beliefs, personal life choices, economics and hairstyle.

Your definition of ‘good’ and my definition of ‘good’ could be vastly different — even if we have more similarities than differences when it comes to skin color, education, income and lived experience.

Despite what political campaigns and media profiling might want us to believe, there is no obvious or right choice.

Which means there can be no ‘Happy Ending’ here because no matter who is elected, there will be millions and millions of people whose dream of a happy ending has… ended.

And so the real story needs to begin — the healing, shifting and creating that will be necessary once this necessary chapter closes.

But how? Not sure if our esteemed leaders have thought about that yet.

How do you heal from years — decades even — of growing mistrust bordering on hatred that is constantly fuelled by fear?

Now, don’t look at me for answers, either. I’m just saying — we should be prepared for anything other than a honeymoon.

But we will get through. We always do. Writing and re-writing our story endings every day.

And I’ll be here — with my buzz-killing, realistic, but ultimately life-loving perspective on things — ready to share more stories, insights or just plain silliness to get us through whatever comes next.

Hope you enjoyed todays #tuesdaystale hybrid of real-life story with a real-life story-in-the-making (today is election-day, afterall!).

Stay open, curious and empowered, friends 💜

As always, thank you for reading and sharing your insights, love, comments and feedback! I love to read it and gratefully receive it.

Originally published at on November 3, 2020.



Tanya Tinney

On a Lifelong Journey to share Dollops of Empowerment * Authenticity Advocate * Mom of Teens * #tuesdaystale Writer