OUTFIT DETAILS: Brock gown (borrowed via Nova Octo) // Jennifer Behr earrings (gifted)
Just last week, a reader left me a comment on a recent photo, it read:
"Your pictures embody the phrase, 'romanticize your life'..."
It instantly made me smile. Because you see, in a phrase, this is exactly what I've been aiming to do with my platform for quite some time now. Getting you to purchase more things or style your hair a certain way have all been rather secondary and, to be quite honest, relatively inconsequential to me (an unpopular thing to admit as an influencer, I know).
No, what I would rather see as the ripple effect from my time on the internet is that it encouraged you, in some small way, to celebrate your life, in loud and quiet ways, that only YOU can do for yourself. A way of encouraging you all to shift the perspective you have of your own life into a light that really lets it shine. Let's it take center stage. A way of seeing your life as a play, a play you really want to see, where you're the leading character -- a character you really want to root for. That's the "conversion rate" I'd rather see. Not whether or not you bought something from the Nordstrom sale on my recommendation (not that there's anything bad about that type of content, to be clear).
So what does it mean to romanticize your own life? First, it means letting go of "them." You know who I mean. Those in your life, including strangers on the internet you've never met (yes, even yours truly if I fit the description), who only make you feel less than, who make you doubt yourself, who make you feel as if they're having and living a better life than you. I'm here to tell you what you likely already suspect, they're not. They might be better at making it appear as if they are, but that's aside the point -- you're in complete control of how you feel about your life. Not them. Remember that. Circumstances may be different, of course. But how you feel and cherish the circumstances you have is 100% in your hands. Act accordingly.
Similarly, I think a lot of us are held back by the notion of "when this happens, then things will be perfect." You can also file this under "timelines are bogus" (a blog post topic for another day perhaps) but the overarching sentiment is the same -- waiting for pieces to fall into place is perhaps the most brutal and painstaking act you can commit. Like watching paint dry. Don't do it to yourself. Don't wait to find the right partner. Don't wait for the perfect job to land in your lap to feel fulfilled. Don't wait to take that trip if you can realistically do it yourself. Don't be afraid to dine alone. Don't be afraid to travel alone. Don't wait for the scale to spit back the "perfect weight" at you. Don't wait. Don't wait. Don't wait. As someone who spent some of her 20s doing just that -- waiting -- I can assure you, it was a gigantic waste of time.
And time is a fickle mistress, isn't she? She waits for no one. Absolutely no one. Because she wised up a long time ago.
In the spirit of kick starting more romantic pursuits with ourselves, I've put together a quick thought starter list on how you can start seeing your own life as something grand, something to be celebrated. Admittedly, it's an evolving work in progress, and I certainly struggle with maintaining a degree of self-aware awe every single day (heck, I wrote a whole blog post about feeling defeated recently), but the point is -- I fall down and get back up. I give it my best shot. And sometimes, that's more than half the battle. It IS the battle.
And as always, I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments below -- because really, if you don't romanticize your own life, who else will?
- Create rituals for yourself that are meaningful and personal, like buying flowers every Friday or reserving a weekend afternoon to go for a walk by yourself. Respect how they make you feel when you indulge in them and, as best you can, honor them.
- Revel in your alone time. Dine alone, travel alone, walk alone. And be comfortable with your own, wandering thoughts.
- Be curious! Challenge yourself to learn new things whenever you can, even if that's just researching the history of buildings you pass every day. To look around you with wonder and awe is such a wonderful feeling!
- Create for the sake of creating, take pictures, write poetry, write stories if you feel moved to do so. And don't feel compelled to share it with anyone. Take note of how that creation makes you feel.
- Read something that challenges you and your views of the world.
- Practice empathy. Noticing how others move in the world helps you recognize more fully how you move in the world.
- Take yourself on dates. Often.
- Lean into nostalgia when you can.
- Wear those nice things in your closet, even if you don't have the "right" occasion for them.
- Don't treat moments of your life like they're transitory -- like they're only there to get you to the next phase. It's such a shame to neglect the present.
- Everyone talks about living for the big reasons (careers, marriage, family) -- but what about the small reasons, the small details? Walking in an unexpected drizzling rainstorm. The way sunlight hits differently in the fall. Finding notes from previous owners in the margins of old, used books. Witnessing a child revel in nature and noticing how their excitement makes you feel. Practice amplifying the joy those "small" things bring.
- Open the windows to feel the breeze. Sit by the window for a bit longer than usual.
- Write down unfamiliar words or words that sound beautiful to your ear and look them up later. Try using them in a sentence.
- Make up stories for people around you -- perhaps at a restaurant the next time you dine out. Think about what makes them tick. What makes them happy. What's something they regret.
- Ask yourself what your favorite heroines from literature would do in certain situations.
- Give out genuine compliments when you can. And receive compliments graciously, without deflecting.
- And always, always, always, when you can afford it, take the long way home. It's worth it every time.
I've rambled at this point, but I think you likely see what I'm underscoring here -- live with intention. As fully as you can. As often as you can. But of course, I think a certain Henry David Thoreau put it far better than I could, so I'll leave you with his words instead:
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms...”