A few weeks ago, I saw a social media post encouraging readers to ‘romanticize your life.’ I loved the words that suggested every cup of coffee tastes the best and that a morning commute could be fun, and I really resonated with the closing line ‘you have to, because that’s when you start truly living. That’s when you look forward to every day.’ I have yet to find an author to those words, but wherever s/he/they are, thank you.
This simple social media post brought to light the incredible value of living in the present, of making the most of every moment available in the day. So often, it’s easy to get caught in the daily commitments, obligations and checklists of things to be done. When living this way, it can feel like you’re a bystander to your own life, simply watching the days and the people you meet come and go, on a literal ‘rinse, wash, repeat’ cycle. But in choosing to romanticize your life, to in fact fall in love with all the small bits which make up the whole, you become central to your life, you become the ‘main character’ and you become the one who injects color, vibrancy and meaning to your everyday.
Think of your regular drive to the grocery store: what have you noticed that’s extraordinary about it? For me, I drive past a small herd of goats, and every time I’m excited to see what they’re doing, and I smile when I spy them sillily perched on a tree stump or munching on the recently deposited ‘used’ Christmas trees. By taking the time to smell your coffee, to hold your cup loving in your hand, feeling its warmth and savoring each sip, it transports you to a place of appreciation, and it brings you front-and-center, right here, right now, living life, and not racing through it. When you wash your hands, notice the temperature of the water, the smell of the soap, the feel of the towel as you dry your hands. Within every moment, you have the choice to show up and be part of it, to notice all the seemingly insignificant and mundane pieces, and when you do, it changes how you view everything.
I’m not talking about donning a pair of rose-colored glasses, because there is ugliness in the world. That is the truth. What you can choose, though, is instead of being caught up in the pain and suffering, to see the beauty of the struggle, of the growth, of the resilience to persist despite the ugliness. It takes incredible character to continue on when the world feels bleak, and that is a beautiful trait of the human spirit. Because not all situations are created equal, it’s in how you view and react to the situation where you hold your power. In the middle of a swirling hurricane, power out, winds threatening, might you romanticize candles and stale bread as a candlelight dinner with a loved one?
The quality of your life and the narrative you tell yourself come directly from how you perceive them. You shape your path every day, and if you believe it to be overgrown, dark, unmanageable and loathsome, that is what you will find. Yet if you can look beyond and see small flowers hidden in the overgrowth, the glimmers of sun or moonlight through the darkness, the progress you make by tackling smaller tasks, then you infuse hope and shift your outlook, and you will find a path that feels more approachable. I was recently reminded that within every perceived ‘bad’ situation, there is always some element of ‘good,’ it simply takes a willingness to see it. That is how you can fall in love with your life, even when it feels hardest.
‘Romanticizing your life’ came out of Covid lockdown, it’s a TikTok trend that gained immense following. Long before Covid, though, the choice to live in appreciation of what you have, of seeing the beauty in a dead leaf, relishing a single morsel as a meal, feeling love through a sideways smile, hearing music on the trees in the wind, came from the Zen practice of living mindfully. When you take the time to truly see, feel, hear, taste, smell life around you, you become part of it, and it becomes impossible to feel like life is passing you by. So take the time, slow down, show up, enjoy the ride, and find all the small parts of your life that you love. When you fall in love with the moments, with the bits and pieces, you start to feel the whole thing differently.
By Jennifer Rizza, Founder of Newtown Wellness Collective, Wellness & Healthy Living Coach, Reiki Master, Yoga Teacher