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Much Ado About Romance

Much Ado About Romance
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It’s the most timeless thing in the history of time: romance. Cupid’s arrows have been flying about since before Christ was born and they are still going strong. They strike down hundreds of thousands of unassuming folks every single day. Then follows the age-old duet of endless phone calls, intimate dates, blooming flowers, and sparkling gifts. If your eyes aren’t glazed over already, here is a little statistic: Valentine’s Day spending in US alone is about $20 Billion. That’s one day in one country, folks (if you are reading this post and didn’t get a gift on Valentine’s Day, now is the time to breathe, just breathe — killing him is not the solution!).

We are obsessed, aren’t we? Shakespeare wrote some 40 plays and 150 sonnets and all we can really remember about the poor guy is “Romeo and Juliet” — suicide in love. Just doesn’t get more romantic than that. Every culture has its own versions of romance that are full of grand gestures — wars fought and monuments built and every little detail documented in ballads and books. Today, it translates into the customary chocolates and jewelry (to all the men complaining about that, had it been the 17th century, you would have to commit suicide to prove your love).

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Interrupting the trance of romance

For one moment though, I’ll request that Cupid take a (well-deserved) rest while I ask a little question: what does romance stand for?

We spend years waiting for that one prolonged look, for that perfect candlelit dinner, for that obscenely huge bouquet and that dazzling faultless solitaire. What does it mean? The longer the look, the truer the love?

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We spend months planning the most romantic wedding. That wedding dress should make Vera Wang tear up and that first dance should make William and Kate look clumsy like Mr. and Mrs. Shrek. What does it mean? The more romantic the wedding, the longer the marriage?

For all these years, have we been using romance as the proxy for love? More importantly, is it?

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If he loves to hold your hand, is he a keeper? What if the guy takes care of you in a dependable sort of way but suffers from sweaty palms? Would you rather have a big bouquet of roses or would you rather he gets laundry done while you are having a difficult day at work (I know you want to say both, but then even your guy wants a cross between Angelina Jolie and Martha Stewart — all the best with that!)?

Romance is just that — romance

It’s exciting and it’s fun but it is not Love. In fact, a lot of times, there is no correlation between the two. You could have a lot of romance — a lot of flowers, a lot of dates, a lot of chocolates — and the very next day a little fight can end in a breakup because your partner can give you flowers but they cannot give up their ego. All the same, if they never ever get you those flowers but keep calm while you are having a “nobody mess with me” day, what you miss are some roses, but what you get is understanding — that’s a pretty good deal.

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There can be love without romance and it can last you a lifetime, but the other way around doesn’t work. It cannot last. Sure, things can get boring, but all that’s needed is for you to drag your partner out of bed and throw a tantrum about wanting to go eat at that new place. The best part is that when you do go eat at that new place, you don’t get judged for spilling food all over your clothes despite the napkin around your neck. The romantic fellow with the jewelry is going to sit there getting embarrassed; that boring dependable guy will help you clean up (after adequate laughter of course — no one is an angel here).

I guess it’s time we let cute little Cupid grow up a bit. For those of us who have seen our parents together for 30 years, we know it’s not about romance. In fact, if your dad got your mum flowers, she would probably rush him to the doctor. Not to mention your dad cannot distinguish a rose from a cactus, so it’s a stretch anyway.

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It’s about just hanging around and being there in a consistent (though sometimes reluctant) way. That’s pretty much love served up in all its glory. It’s not about Romeo and Juliet dying for love. It’s about Romeo and Juliet surviving each other for love, all sprinkled with a few moments of joy (when no one has to do laundry).

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)
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It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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