What if "life" is a human being? Someone who occasionally gets angry and throws obstacles your way; someone who entertains you through periodic surprises; someone you need to care for to sustain a healthy connection with.
Romanticizing your life allows you to slow down, think, and appreciate the people and things around you. It encourages you to balance the importance of macro and micro events impacting you and let yourself determine which really matter. Our minds are so prone to change and hearts to question that meditation, contemplation, and peace are essential to help us stay rooted amidst the storms of life and true to ourselves at all times. In short, it is important to live every day with passion and purpose.
"Life is too short, so love the one you got."
– Bradley Nowell
Take a minute to think about where you are in your life––perhaps just entering your teens, living alone for the first time, feeling lost, or something else? Now consider what you like(d) and want to change about your current stage. There is never a time too late to imagine and improve yourself and the way you live. It's likely what you have just thought of will be achieved if you romanticize your life with the following 15 suggestions.
"A reflective looking inward; an examination of one's own thoughts and feelings" (Merriam-Webster). Introspection reminds us to pause in life to gaze at where we are. This is extremely critical if you find yourself consistently burnt out, having mood swings, or feeling doubt and lost. Introspection gives priority to yourself by nourishing your mind and body with resources they need to rest and heal. Start by asking yourself, how long has it been since I've spent quality time alone? Have I developed any bad routines recently? What makes me happy?
While it is difficult to regularly engage in reflection by simply thinking, you can also reflect by doing. Below are five ideas to romanticize the time you spend with yourself.
- Enhance your morning routine: consistent wake-up times, morning stretches, hearty breakfast, shower, skin care
- Listen to music and/or podcasts: playlists for different times of the day and various moods, daily podcast
- Document your meals and outfits: food/OOTD journal, meal prep
- Read: books, magazines, poetry, articles
- Buy yourself flowers and candles: new color-scheme every month, candle-lit dinners
"Examination or observation of what is outside oneself" (Merriam-Webster). When you find yourself too caught in meeting deadlines and personal goals, try giving yourself a break. While socializing can be tiresome and time-consuming, most people feel reassured and liberated after a chat with their family and friends.
It's important to know what you are capable of handling alone, and when you need to switch gears to engage with others. I often find myself feeling grateful for putting in the effort to reach out and stay in touch with those important to me, because the awkwardness of me taking initiative becomes negligible after a heartfelt conversation. Below are four ways to romanticize the time you spend with and around others.
- Picnic outside: charcuterie board, board games, music, arts and crafts
- Tour your city for a day: main attractions, underrated parks, aesthetic coffee shops, vintage souvenir store
- Drive with no destination: cityscape at night, along the coast
- Volunteer: local marathon, senior retirement home, tree planting
"The act or process or an instance of surveying the past" (Merriam-Webster). You may have been told before that dwelling in the past is not advisable. However, I see that as only accurate to some extent. I believe memories are valuable reservoirs that guide reflection, appreciation, and aspiration.
Photos can take you to relive moments that made you laugh until you got the hiccups, and old toys/belongings can help you recall a precious experience that has been lingering on the edge of your memory. Try the three ideas listed below to romanticize the time you spend with your past joys and challenges.
- Make a scrapbook: digital or physical, photos, stickers, short memos
- Host a "memory lane" gathering: middle school sports team, freshman year science project group, peer buddies
- Visit a nostalgic place: playgrounds, daycare center, studios for extracurricular classes
"The act of anticipating" (Merriam-Webster). I still find the potential benefits of making resolutions and bucket lists outweigh the 10 minutes it takes to create them. Even if working toward fulfilling your anticipations only lasts through February or needs an update by summertime, it is important to take note of anything you have in mind at any time. Prospection, as much as it anticipates growth, documents growth.
Specifically, prospection allows you to jot down future plans before you reach the end of December and realize there's something you have always been wanting to do but forgot to do it, again. Here are three activities to do to romanticize the time you spend with your goals for and fears of the future.
- Bullet journal: notes to self, stickers, lists for ideals, questions for yourself, questions for the world
- Write down your resolutions and bucket lists: monthly, annual, lifelong
- Book tickets for a concert, performance, or museum: liveband, favorite artist, special art exhibition, sports game
The 15 ideas detailed above are not restricting. Building your intellectual vitality through reading and watching movies are also wonderful ways to open yourself to more perspectives and possibilities. Maybe you share a similar experience of being so drawn into a fictional character's habit or hobby that I want to apply it to my own life, leading me to live "main character moments" that boost my confidence and satisfaction. See recommendations from Reader's Digest for some inspiring books to pick up this year, and recommendations from IMDb for a list of inspiring movies to spend a night with.
Finding wholesome Youtubers to follow and relaxing beats to listen to are more resources to turn to for healing and inspiration. It may just be the case that you are too fixed on how things should (and could) be that you need to witness more ways of thinking about things from other people. In doing so, be cautious about excessive dependency or passivity, because these resources should only be channels that fuel our improvement and not our doubts.
- YouTubers I recommend: Ava Jules, Dustin Vuong, Kennedy Walsh, Nailea Devora, Ali Abdaal
- Songs I recommend: Teenage Dream by Stephen Dawes, For Real This Time by Gracie Abrams, AMAZING by Rex Orange County, I Ain't Worried by OneRepublic, Pink + White by Frank Ocean
Noticing the Difference
The reward may be instant or come along after a new practice becomes routine. Consistency is key, as well as remembering your purpose for putting extra thought or effort into romanticizing your life through introspection, extrospection, retrospection, prospection, or any combination of the four. It's never too late to want and create change for yourself. I wish you the best in 2023!