Why You Should Keep Romanticizing Your Life

Cam Wade
3 min readJul 24, 2022
Four books laid out, overlapping one another. Books included Midnight Sun(Stephanie Myer) As Far as You” ll Take Me(Phil Stamper), Adulthood Rites(Octavia Butler) and History is All You Left Me( Adam Silvera)
Close-up photo of four books: Midnight Sun(Stephanie Myer), As Far as You’ll Take Me(Phil Stamper) Adulthood Rites( Octavia Butler), and History Is All You Left Me(Adam Silvera)

Summer’s started, Tik-Tok algorithms are going crazy, and the world constantly feels like it’s on the brink of ending.

Don’t get me wrong, the world seems like a shitty place to be in right now: increasingly dangerous environmental risks and harms, stagnant wages, and the denial of reproductive rights.

Yeah, the world’s going swimmingly.

In all this turmoil though, I’ve been constantly reminded that people love reminiscing and romanticizing the past.

White man dresses in blue tropical shirt sits at table. Background is adorned by 35mm film stock blue-red colors.
A hometown friend of mine and I enjoying some drinks on bright summer day.

The days before COVID took some of us away from the outside world(Read here: those that had the privilege to work from home) and pushes some of us(the working class) even further into this dangerous world.

The days before time and space exploded on themselves when people started protesting and rioting for the survival of Black people in this country and also worldwide.

To be honest, I hear these things sometimes and think to myself about how it’s a load of bullshit. Things were already bad for certain groups, and these legendary “historic moments” keep happening that prevent some people from even accessing the future. Like those unlucky Black people who meet face to face with a state patrol officer on I-75 wondering if they’re going to make it out of that situation alive. Or the Black trans women and gender-nonconforming folks who die at the hands of these shady ass “DL” men.

Even in my own personal life, I have a hard time imagining the future because everything in the present seems so foul. Couple all of the structural issues I talked about before and add that with the fact that I’m Black, queer, working-class, non-binary, neuro-atypical, and–

–boom!

You suddenly start to realize that everything in the world is pitted against you; constructing a future seems damn near impossible. Why care about the future when the present conditions seem almost impossible?

White man with black culry hair and Black person with an afro lay beside in each other in a grey/black tent.
A friend and I having yet another existential conversation about what it really means to be alive on a camping trip.

I think that’s why I like romanticizing my life, specifically the past. The present itself feels like a drag, especially living with depression. Everything flattens itself, while all those negative affects run up against your body.

A Black man, White man, and another White man huddled close together in bright purple hues and a hint of red bursting from the side.
Three of my friends in a Euphoria-inspired photoshoot.

But, I get those moments from time and time again where life seems to just slows for a second. Where thinking about kissing that boy at a frat party doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Where you’re having the time of your life with your friends because you’re all high at 12:00am, watching life move throughout your dreary city.

Photo of an person sitting in driver’s seat of a car. Photo surronded in dark-ish blue tones caught on 35mm film stock.

Those are the moments I want to last forever.

Even though deep inside, I know that they won’t.

That goes for the good as well as the bad. The good will be good, almost euphoric at times. But the bad will be oh so fucking bad.

That’s ok, though

A blurry photo a Black person, a White woman dressed in a deep red dress along with another White woman dressed in a bright red dress.

Sometimes, that fantasy you’ve romanticized is the only forward from nothing.

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