Romanticism and the Everyday

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What does it mean to be a romantic? I used to think it was about searching for the love of your life, and finding that special someone that all the books and movies say will change your life. But come Covid and lockdowns, I may have found a different definition.

Everyone wants that fairytale romance: the one that begins in a quirky bookstore and gathers speed in a horsedrawn carriage on a moonlit light, and culminates in a custom engagement ring with an inside joke engraved on the band so they would smile whenever they looked at it. But finding romance was unfortunately brought to a near-stop once the lockdowns began. Did that have to mean the end of that warm, fuzzy feeling that romance brings?

It may have been desperation borne from extended lockdowns and isolation, but I realized that we had to fall in love with the mundane moments of life as well. Grand romantic gestures are wonderful and worthy to cherish, but so are the smaller moments

The realization came at a rather bleak moment; it was on a day when I was feeling worse than usual. I felt trapped and stagnant, and I yearned viciously for the little things in my daily life that I realized I absolutely adored. I realized that I loved going to the cafe and drinking overpriced coffee, I loved listening to Spotify on public transport and losing myself in my thoughts, and I loved trawling the malls and window-shopping with absolutely no plans to buy anything. I loved these things, not only because of the freedom from Covid and return to normalcy they signified, but because life was just so much more interesting and wonderful when I did think them worthy of note. 

And it was on an indistinct day when I was aimlessly scrolling through social media that I came across the name for this feeling: romanticizing life. Romanticizing life doesn’t mean carrying out grand romantic gestures to show the people close to you how much you love and appreciate them. It means consciously idealizing and loving the mundane moments in life.

It means learning to adore brewing coffee in the morning rather than think it a necessary chore, or learning to love sitting down to work rather than bemoan the need to log in another day to make your paycheck. This isn’t easy by any means, and it’s made more difficult the longer you have been used to hating these moments. But romanticizing life doesn’t just make getting through the day easier and more fun, but it’s also an act of self-love. And there’s no time we need to practice some added self-love more than right now.

How To Romanticise Your Life

Often times we sacrifice the present in pursuit of the future. We get into the bad habit of painting the present as a time to hustle, to work hard and grind so that we can achieve better results in the future. But what happens when every time you achieve a goal, you treat it as a marker to where you want to get? That mindset leaves you no time or space to enjoy where you are right now, and you’ll find you’ve spent your whole life working harder and harder to achieve happiness only to have accumulated very little of it. 

Romanticizing your life prevents you from falling into this pit-hole by reframing tedious tasks into positive and fun ones, and filling your life with things that bring you joy. Take the time to figure out what you love to do. And once you have this sorted out carve out time daily to engage in a few of these activities. If you like watching movies, do so while eating dinner.

If you like playing with your pets, take a break during work to give your dog a belly rub or play with your kitten. But also allow yourself to give in to your impulses. If you wake up one day and suddenly have the urge to cook an elaborate 18-step dish, indulge yourself! Or if you feel like splurging on that beautiful dress you glimpsed on Instagram (even if you have nowhere to wear it to now), treat yourself and walk a little runway show for yourself!  

But most importantly, forgive yourself. If you had a bad day at work or fought with a friend, don’t drown yourself in shame or guilt. Accept the flaws that make you you, cry over them with ice cream, and let yourself feel better. Show yourself kindness. Romanticizing life doesn’t mean complacency, but actively choosing to be kinder and more interested in, and engaged with, everyday life. It’s through loving the mundane activities that we can get through this difficult time with a stronger appreciation for the world around us.

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