Most of us eventually come to realize that life, as John Mayer said, "ain't a fairytale, it's a documentary."
While giddily reaching for stars is still encouraged in books and songs, real life soon enough translates pixie dust and lofty dreams to attainable goals and 5- to 10-year plans, often as early as high school.
Don't get me wrong: living in The Land of Nod really shouldn't last forever. As my cousin said years ago when I lamented that his then-toddlers had grown past that adorable baby talk, "Well, it might be cute now, but do you really want them to be calling pencils 'lellow' in junior high?" Point taken.
As necessary as the crash from unicorns and rainbows to meetings and budgets can be, it still has a harsh impact.
We eventually learn those sweet songs and poems we know from childhood sometimes originated in a very dark way, with medical epidemics, deadly fires, and such.
The 24-year-old princess wakes up to see a million other girls with tiaras and ponies and the latest fads just like hers, despite the comforts her daddy will coddle her with till death do they part.
The Peter Pans cleverly disguised as grown men are occasionally haunted by The One Who Got Away, forcing them to once again close their eyes and hearts until they find another Tinkerbell to whisk them into the night.
Or, in my case, the chick who was 30 before she noticed fat grams existed starts South Beach diet.
That's right, folks. I am in a carbless reality, and it's not pretty.
Ok, I'm on week 2, which truly isn't as tough. But those first few days of week 1 were something akin to a black-and-white Russian movie. The cinematography was off, the dialect was abrasive, and the subtitles just didn't match up to what I was used to.
As I lamented to some friends, "All this time I thought I was nice, but I'm not. Rebekah without bread might be healthier in the long run, but right now, I'm just MEAN."
It's a very harsh reality to realize what you thought was a relatively okay personality was apparently just constant starch and sugar intake.
I won't Splenda-coat it. Having to make smart choices isn't always easy or fun. (Nor is losing the dream of the last-minute rescue by a handsome stranger from any mess we get ourselves into, but that's probably another post for another blogger.)
But while reality may not always be the prettier option, it certainly is the healthier one.
Even when we don't see immediate results from choosing salad over KFC, or get instant gratification from doing what's ethical and honest, we still know we made the healthy choice for body and soul.
And, in the end, even if it's packaged as a documentary, that's the true grown-up fairytale.