what it's like for modern day romantics
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Life Stages

Why It’s Hard To Be A Romantic

Especially, in a modern world full of realists.

Why It’s Hard To Be A Romantic
Ava McLaughlin

For a long time, I dreamed about love.

And, of course, I still dream about love, romance, marriage, etc. But I chose to start this article with that sentence as a reference to, the incredibly romantic yet anti-romantic, book "In Search of Lost Time" by Marcel Proust. Because what's more romantic than French Literature? Right? Right.

But putting my personal pretentious references aside, I have always dreamed of love.

I can blame my early obsession with John Green books and other various Young Adult fiction novelists that never failed to make me, a naive and love-obsessed adolescent, swoon for unrealistic fictional characters and lives. I can blame my love of ballet where every performance includes one, or more, intricate pas de deux and stories of love... or death. I can blame the fact that "The Princess Bride" has been my favorite movie since the age of seven.

Or, I can really just blame myself, my imagination, and my love for love. That's what it really comes down to.

I'm not just talking about 'relationship' kind of love either. I mean, I romanticized over New York City since I was ten years old. I romanticize now over living in Paris in my youth and then retiring on a boat at the southern tip of France. I romanticize over my future career and becoming all the things that I want to be and doing all the things I want to do. I romanticize over life in general, but I'm realizing now how dangerous that is because romance too often coincides with fantasy. And that just doesn't work in the 'real world'. At least that's what the realist side of me tries to nail into my head, but I try not to listen to her.

I've been thinking about my romantic tendencies more and more especially since coming back to the city — and reality — after spending most of my summer watching movies and reading books on love. This extensive list included the incredibly romantic (albeit bittersweet film due to the director's own battles with romanticism) "Manhattan" by Woody Allen. This movie makes you fall in love with "Manhattan" over and over again while also struggling with how to define romanticism between human souls as well. Since movies like this that leave you wanting so much more from life, I really got to thinking about how annoying it is to be a romantic when I keep expecting grand gestures, soliloquies, and testimonies of love to happen to me, and plot twist — they never do.

I'll be reading in the park and I'm half expecting but fully hoping that the person I see sitting a few benches over also reading will come up to me and start a long, drawn-out conversation about literature and film and art, and we'll spend the entire day talking, walking, drinking coffee, and when it comes nighttime they WON'T ask me to go home with them because, in my romantic fantasy, people are respectful and non-assuming.

I'll be hoping that in the first day of my French class, there's a beautiful person who is also so very interesting that will ask me to be their French partner, and we'll start off as friends and one day they'll ask me on a date, and I'll be halfway surprised but not really because that's what I'd been hoping for, and it was just a matter of time.

Don't even get me started on just the pure aestheticism New York City brings to dating life what with the parks, snow, cherry blossoms, places to go....I really could go on.

But, at the end of the day, I'll be thinking about having a person you knew for years that won't lie, will only change for the better, will promise not to break your heart, and pledges to never turn into someone you hardly recognize, but we all know how that one turns out.

What I'm saying is, and I'll blame every unrealistic expectation brought on from pop culture — besides the "Before Sunrise" trilogy which will always remain the truest example of love over time in modern film — for persuading these delusional thoughts about life in general. But I'll also blame myself, always, for giving into these expectations and being disappointed when reality inevitably, and unfortunately, comes through.

It's hard being a romantic these days, especially living in my favorite romantic city, but it becomes easier when you start to realize that shit just kind of happens sometimes, and it's up to you to accept that and move on.

And if I'm being honest, I'm going to try to keep up a realistic approach to love and relationships and life in general, but when it comes to it, I'll always be thinking about life's What Ifs, especially those that weren't that far off at one point.

And, of course, I'll always be searching for the perfect combination of Percy Jackson, Peeta Mellark, and Augustus Waters, feelings I'll never be ashamed of!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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