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Getting Caught Up in Romanticizing

This is not about romance. This is about the romanticizing of our lives, the effervescent chase.

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This is not about romance.

This is about the romanticizing of our lives, the effervescent chase to think life is a continual high. I thought about this after seeing the movie Roadrunner, the story of Anthony Bourdain. For those of you that know me, Bourdain was one of the reasons I started writing in the first place. Kitchen Confidential was mindblowing to me at the time. I had never read anything so raw, provocative, and powerful when it came to the culinary underworld. He blazed a trail for many writers who sought to explore the world. He created wanderlust. He was the pioneer who opened the borders of the world for all of us to explore.

Yet, I found during the movie; he was always searching for something more. He was a traditional romantic, someone who believed that the highs of a romance, a love, a place, a thing supposed to grow and transcend every other experience at all times continually. He admitted there is no happy ending. He rushed to get in one scene immerse himself completely, only to rush out of another scene. Even if he had nowhere to go, he was always looking for the next thing.

How many times I have done that to myself is fricking endless. When I have something great, something I created, a post, book, poem, I post that shit, write a caption and then move the hell on. This is weird because I spent all that time in a space and energy to create something meaningful and don’t recognize it. I don’t allow myself to be proud of it long enough. I don’t give myself attention or praise to say

“Mike, this is f**king great. Glad you wrote this. Be proud of yourself.”

I have a habit of looking for the next thing. It is a vicious cycle—a dicey game to play as a creative. For starters, I’ll never be happy, always looking for the next thing. You’ll never be happy. Chasing rainbows. Chasing one thing after another. You’ll only be happy with it if you enjoy the journey of chasing and thoroughly immersing yourself in pursuit. But you must enjoy it like no other. It has to be deeper than the honeymoon phase of a new relationship. It has to be deeper than the emotions and feelings of a summer eve in France, dinner on the French Riviera that you’ll be dreaming about for the rest of your life. It has to be much more than this. It has to mean something to you in the same breath as life in itself.

If this is not you to obsess over the chase, that is ok. This is me in a nutshell. I do not really enjoy the chase. I actually enjoy climbing to the top of the mountain to sit in the view, not looking for the next big ass mountain to tackle that’s twice the size and twice the challenge. Not everyone needs to be going to the bigger obstacle, the more difficult climb, for the sake of what others are doing. You have to do what is best for you.

But we romanticize a better life at all times. We think one day, someday, the future will be better. We keep bouncing; we keep moving; we want things to keep being better all the time.

Trust me, I am a romantic, and at times I have romanticized the hell out of things; relationships, travel, wealth, success, you name it. Romanticizing creates an expectation that it will last forever the way you conjure up in your head. Your relationships stay high on I love yous, intimacy, flattery, and comments about physical appearance. The first time you go on a magical vacation or trip, it’s hard not to think that every trip will and should be that way. You ride the high of wanderlust, of faraway lands and cuisines.

It’s hard not to think that highs are always going to be there.

Everything is cyclical in life. With highs come lows, with peaks come valleys. With tough times come good times. And when we come off the highs, that’s when we start to think things go wrong or something is off. We start looking for a way out. I have caught myself more than once in my life looking for ways out because I was afraid the ride was over. The ride was not over. It changed. I failed to see it. In my writing, I loved the high of a new post, a book chapter I wrote. But I would always look for another inspiration without reveling in what I wrote or created instead of enjoying what I had made. And now, I see differently that true romance is not about the depth but more so the length. It is about the ebb and flow, riding the waves, enjoying the view. It is not about seeking highs all the time but rather embracing the lows.

Romance is a ride, not a stop.