Posts Tagged ‘romanticism’

Incurable Romantic

March 15th, 2007

Romantic: imaginative but impractical; visionary; not based on fact; imaginary or fictitious

There is no doubt about it. I am a romantic. I’ve always been one with my nose in a book, living my life through the idealistic lens of the fictional world.

Romanticism has served me well for many years. It influences my perception of foods, of cultural items, of the entire world around me. I choose in advance what I like and what I don’t based on my romantic ideals.

I said to myself–“Beer is for loudmouthed slobs, cocktails are for silly socialites, hard liquor is for men behind doors with their cigars. Wine, wine is the only truly beautiful alcoholic drink. It is the ideal.” And so, I drink wine and enjoy it. I don’t enjoy cocktails half as much. And I’ve never tried beer or hard liquor. Romanticism shapes and tempers my taste for alcoholic beverages.

In the same way, my romantic nature has declared opera to be a superb art form, jazz to be a delicious musical genre, ballet to be beautiful. And I swooned over my first opera, listen to jazz on the radio, and delight over ballet. But all of this was determined before I every heard or saw any of these. My idealism told me my preferences and preferences willingly followed suit.

And so I walk through the world with ideas from majestic to mundane. I have ideals for myself–what I will wear, do, become. What is my list of goals but a romantic to-do list meant to mold me into my ideal? I have ideals for girl-guy flirtations. I have ideals about places, foods, activities, people.

And that is where romanticism fails me. No matter how hard I try, I cannot fit people into my idealistic world. Because people wear sweatpants and aren’t always polite to wait staff. People aren’t always intellectual and willing to relate the way I want them to. People, relationships, require work. They require a frank look at reality.

The ideal of an ethereal home filled with friends who constantly encourage one another falls short of reality. Reality is that we’re all busy and some days will pass that we won’t even speak to one another. A roommate will be loud just as we’re trying to sleep. Chores will be done differently than we’re used to, lights will be left on when no one’s in the room.

Reality and ideals collide and I must choose. Will I cling to my ideals and grow bitter toward the people in my life, or will I see reality for what it is? Will I lay down my desire for a perfect world in order to live with and love imperfect people? Or will I live the cold ideal–beautiful, but like an iceberg–sterile, serene, uninhabitable?

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