One of my biggest fears is living a completely ordinary, boring, unimportant life.
Right now I’m in an “in-between” season of my life. I graduated from undergrad in December 2020, and I start graduate school in September 2021. That leaves nine months to work as much as possible and save money for my next adventure. I’m living with my parents to save money and have plans to work 6 days a week over the summer. It would be easy just to look at these months as nothing but money-making, exhausting days where all I do is work and sleep. Some days, that’s exactly what it feels like.
However, 9 months is a long time. It’s short in the grand scheme of things, but it’s 75% of a year. I cannot let these months pass without living.
When I hated myself, life was all about the big goals: Graduating, traveling, and not much else. Now that I love myself, I’ve found it easier to love the little things in my life. I romanticize everything I do, and through this, I’ve fallen more in love with my morning coffee and 30-minute commute to work. It makes life happier. It allows me to enjoy this “in-between season” rather than struggle to get through it.
“Romanticize your life” is a saying that gets thrown around on aesthetic Pinterest boards, Instagram accounts, and TikTok videos. “Be the main character” is another, newer saying that has become more popular. At first glance, they seem like stupid little pop culture references that younger generations say to sound cool. In reality, embracing these ideas have allowed me to enjoy every day, especially in quarantine.
When I was in my apartment alone for months-on-end in 2020, I started romanticizing my life without even realizing it. Every day felt the same, and I couldn’t handle that. So, I started doing little things to make the days feel different from each other. I over-hyped these things in my head, took cool pictures, and fell in love with the little things. Things like making a yummy meal and watching my favorite shows, learning a new trick on my roller skates, cuddling up with a good book, or going for a walk around my neighborhood. Soon, the little things became big things. They became the things that made life beautiful.
The truth is, you are the main character of your life. The world may not revolve around you, but YOUR world does. If you don’t make the effort to do little things that make you happy, no one else is going to either.
Here are things I do to “be the main character” and romanticize my life:
I embrace the obsessions
I used to get a lot of crap about being obsessed with musicians, books, and movies when I was younger. For a while, I took that to heart. I toned it down, at least around other people. I’ve recently realized that I don’t have to do that. I’m a passionate person, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. I let myself love the things I love, and being unashamed about it has helped me enjoy these things even more. My obsessions come and go in waves, and that’s okay. I love music, books, movies, and shows with everything in me, and being able to start the day with my favorite show is sometimes all that gets me out of bed in the morning. Any day that involves Jurassic Park, She-Ra, or Star Wars (and coffee) is a good day in my book.
I take pictures of everything
Making my life look beautiful through a camera helps me view my life as beautiful, because it is. Simply sitting on my bed watching TV with my cat laying next to me makes for a pretty cute picture- and capturing that on my phone helps me see it in a different light. People make fun of others for “Instagramming their breakfast” but if doing that helps you enjoy the breakfast more- go for it!
I use the “One Second Everyday” app
I swear I’m not sponsored by this app, but with how much I talk about them, I really should be. This app has changed my life, and I go into more detail on this blog post, but in short, it truly helps me look for the good things in every day. Even when I work 40+ hours a week, I’m still able to find a moment each day that makes me smile or that brings me joy. Here’s my video for March 2021:
I do more things alone
The only person you’re guaranteed to have your whole life is yourself. I’ve talked a lot about my self-love journey on this blog (and I’m not even close to being done), and I am well aware how hard it can be to love your life when you don’t love yourself. Learning to love myself has improved my life more than I could ever express. Spending time alone brings me so much joy. I don’t have to submit to any expectations or worry about looking dumb or saying the wrong things. When I’m alone, I can do what I want, when I want. I love having picnics outside in the sunshine, just me, good food, and a book (and coffee). I love taking myself on dates and doing self-timer photoshoots. I love goofing off and creating inside jokes with just myself. I love traveling by myself and going on adventures. Life opens up to so many more opportunities once you learn to love being alone.
I embrace the quote “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Fear so often keeps us from living the way we want to live. Fear of making a mistake, fear of judgement from others, fear of rejection, fear of getting hurt. Sometimes fear is justified, but most times, the things we’re afraid of are invisible, unlikely, or not even true threats. What are some things you’d do if you weren’t afraid? If I had listened to fear, I never would have learned how to roller skate. I never would have shaved my head. I never would have applied for graduate school, gone on my solo beach road trip, or learned big life lessons. Fear stops us from becoming better versions of ourselves.
I remember what I can and can’t control
Control is a difficult thing for me. It played a big part in my eating disorder in high school and contributes to stress in my life daily. To combat this, I try to remember to only focus on the things I can control. I can’t control my work uniform, but I can wear fun socks and earrings to make it more fun. I can’t control how few free hours I have in the day, but I can control how I spend those hours. I can’t control the weather, but I can choose to enjoy rainy days and heatwaves all the same.
I remember that a perfect life doesn’t exist
As much as I try to romanticize my life, I still have bad days. I have nights at work where I want to quit. I have days at home where I don’t have the physical or mental energy to do anything besides scroll through TikTok or watch a movie. I have waves of sadness from difficult things I’ve gone through and still struggle with my eating disorder sometimes. The key is that I don’t pressure myself to be perfect. Sometimes I can’t find the beauty in life, and that’s okay. My emotions and energies are valid, and everything comes and goes. I just have to wait out the anxiety and the sadness, because it will pass. It’s okay if some days my morning coffee doesn’t taste as good as it did yesterday, and it’s okay if my dinosaur socks don’t bring me joy at work sometimes.
One quote that has helped me a lot is this: “You are the sky. Everything else- it’s just the weather.”
I am the main character. I am the thing that I’m romanticizing. Not my books. Not my passions. Not sunshine or coffee or friends, no matter how much I love them. I am the sky. Everything else is just the weather.