If your algorithm is anything like mine, you’ve seen the flower-filled, fairy light strewn, creek-splashing, gorgeous view montage videos that immediately have you scouring Zillow for a house in the forest/near the beach/in a high-rise/on a mountain. Whether it’s fluttering autumn leaves, blooming spring flowers, or snow falling outside while the fire roars next to a Christmas tree, these romanticized lifestyle videos often leave me with a sense of yearning.
If only my view looked like that.
If only my house looked like that.
If only my life looked like that.
But then, I remind myself that these creators still have to wash the dishes, take out the trash, lay on the cold floor and swipe under the couch to retrieve the lost toy, and clean the bathrooms (okay, maybe if they’re a major influencer they can hire someone to do that, but still).
So, do these videos show how they live or just how they view their life?
This idyllic perspective doesn’t come with a fancier house or any item that has a price tag. Yes, doing the dishes is not the most entrancing activity out there. But it has to get done, so we may as well have fun with it, right? But how do we DO that?
Romanticize your life.
Imagine if every activity in your day-to-day life was a single scene in a movie montage. If you’re doing the dishes, maybe you’re also listening to music and singing along. If you’re headed to the car pickup line, roll down those windows and blast that ’90s throwback music. Pick a few yellow dandelions from the yard and stick them in a tiny vase or jam jar, light a candle, use the pretty plates and the nice napkins, have a backyard picnic, put a flower in your hair, wear the outfit you were brave enough to buy but not yet brave enough to leave the house in. Put on your favorite sundress/overalls/outfit and just go for a walk. Sit outside and watch the sunset.
The key to romanticizing your life doesn’t lie in the moments you take hours to craft; it’s in the everyday, mundane moments that you make special by just being you, and taking the time to pause and appreciate the life you have. And yes, having the time to pause and watch the clouds while laying on a blanket outside with the kids does require the privilege of having the time, space, and mental energy to do that; these ideas may not cost money, but that doesn’t mean there’s no cost.
The cliché of the grass is greener on the other side exists because we see other people’s lives through a filter, whether that filter has an Instagram title or you’re just only seeing a sliver of someone’s life. But the grass is greener where you water it, so let your attention wander to the things that make you happy, whether that’s setting the table your favorite way for dinner or walking barefoot through the grass for three minutes because it’s all you have time for.
Romanticizing your life isn’t about spending money, living in a cottage in the woods, or starting an apple orchard in Vermont. Romanticizing your life is about choosing what to focus on and where your priorities lie. Some days, you may get to lay next to your kid and spot shapes in the clouds, and that means the floors don’t get vacuumed. Other days, you may have to have your family dance party while emptying the dishwasher because someone has baseball practice. Every moment of every day isn’t going to be a beautiful blossom of a moment that would make others feel jealous on TikTok. But that doesn’t mean that every day can’t have a beautiful moment in it for you and your family.
Life is the longest thing we will ever experience, and yet it is still too short. Romanticizing your life is really just taking the time to see the beauty in your existence and being grateful for it, right then and there. My version of my romanticized life will be different from yours, and that is part of its beauty: each of us has our own unique ideal moments, and finding them is like finding buried treasure.