Once upon a time a woman never got married, but had many fulfilling relationships, a job that kept her comfortable, an apartment that she got to decorate just for her, and hobbies that stimulated her mind.
Once upon a time a woman and a man tried having babies, but it didn't work, so when they were past the age of trying, they decided that they had enough disposable income to travel the world, and so they did, and it was awesome, and both of them felt okay about it, and no one gave them any grief over it, either.
Once upon a time a woman was approached by a drunk guy in a dark alley, but he was very polite, and explained that he had driven to the bar, but because he was responsible, he didn't want to drive home, but his cell phone was dead, so he asked the lady to call him a cab. She did, and he was grateful, and they said pleasant goodbyes before going their separate ways.
Once upon a time a woman was very good at her job, and she knew she had added value to the company she worked for, so even though she was nervous, she talked to her boss, and asked for a raise, and she got it.
Once upon a time a woman grew up in a land-locked state, and continued to live there because she had married her high school sweetheart, and his job was tied to the area, and she wanted to stay close to her parents, but she had always wished she had learned to surf. So when she turned 65 she used some of the money from her savings account, took her first ever solo vacation to the coast, and took a week's worth of surfing lessons, and had a very nice time.
Once upon a time a young girl grew up reading magazines about beauty products and consequently felt very self-conscious about her acne. She tried a bunch of treatments that had varying degrees of success, and never left the house without a full face of makeup. She started using anti-aging products when she was 20, thinking that prevention would work better than a cure. But when she turned 30 she still had acne that she had hoped to outgrow, but somehow it just didn't seem to matter as much. She would sometimes run errands without any makeup at all. And despite the preventative care she had tried to do in her early twenties, she started developing some wrinkles on her forehead in her late twenties. But again, somehow, it just didn't seem to bother her as much as the prospect had when she was younger. When she was in her forties her skin had continued to wrinkle, but she cared even less, and was pleased to see that the wrinkles around her eyes made it look like she smiled a lot, which made her smile more, and she cared even less, and she only wore makeup when she wanted to, and never felt obligated to do so. When she was 80 her skin was thinner and delicate, but reminded her of really beautiful tissue paper, and she was happier, and felt more confident as a person than she ever had.
Renee Lupica recently received a BFA in New Media. She recently began sleeping on two mattresses stacked on top of one another, and is beginning to understand how it might escalate, à la The Princess & The Pea. You can follow her on Twitter @rmlupica.