As I traveled around Europe, everything was romantic. The bridges, the people, the buildings, just everything. Romance was in the flowers, the clouds, the way people walked, how they ate breakfast, everything. I soaked in the scenes, with jealousy of the people who live in such a beautiful, romantic setting. I rendered the graffiti a work of art, and even the rudeness of waiters a cultural experience.
I (used to) live near Gwanganli beach, one of the more popular tourist attractions in Busan, South Korea. The place brings in lovers, friends and families, who, in fascination, awe at the diamond bridge and the beach. They take pictures and have the time of their lives. I run my daily jogs, or walk to a nearby cafe to do homework. To me, it’s just where I live. I notice the garbage on the beach, consider the food mediocre and rather overpriced, and the beach mundane.
The romance and daily life always coexist, both in time and space. It may uniquely exist for individuals, yet it is not eternal. Though once romantic, anything can eventually become routine. Familiarity alters romance, and a repetitive life breeds desire for romance.
That might be why we obsess over ‘the firsts’ – first kiss, first date, first whatever. People often ask couples, ‘how did you guys first meet’?, where people seldom ask about ‘what were your sentiments for each other while brushing your teeth together for the six hundredth time?’
Romance is innately ephemeral. It is hard to find a person ‘living in romance’. This becomes rather apparent in relationships. A person who once dreamt of merely holding hands with a girl, may one day idly scroll through Facebook while the same person undresses. The transition is subtle, as we grow less and less romantic about a situation, it becomes rather mundane and unnoteworthy. Ironically, the lover, once a receiver of undivided attention and veneration, now a target of indifference, may be another person’s dream of romance.
This concept is not limited to relationships. I considered my college life mundane – going to the same class, walking the same roads. There was no alluring cathedrals with plunders from times of old, or a museum filled with Monet. Similar faces exhibited familiar, predictable behavior, only to repeat the next day. However, when I served in the army, I spent most days daydreaming of going to classes and learning physics, the tingling angst before the professor reveals the answers for the iclicker question. Conversely, when I started school again, during a late-night homework session, I dreamt of my simple life in the army.
So the conclusion of this lengthy babble is, that it really depends on how one looks at it.
If we were to appreciate our daily lives, in consideration that they may, one day, become the destination of our romantic thoughts, or that it is currently someone else’s romantic destination, we might be closer to a more sustainable happiness.