A Romantic

By Joe Rector

I admit it; I’m romantic. No, I’m not talking about writers who have a love of chivalry and becoming one with nature, although I do like the writings of Emerson and Thoreau. Neither am I referring to my ability to woo women. Ask any old girlfriend or my wife, and they can set you straight about that; my attempts at romanticism in this area are as comfortable for ladies as a rock in their shoes. Irritating might be a better way to describe it.

When I say romantic, the reference is to the idealistic. Life is hard at times because of this romanticism.

For one thing, not everyone else subscribes to searching for the ideal. It might be something for which people long, but in the real world, perfection just doesn’t occur. By the mere fact that we are all human, we are doomed to make mistakes. Some are big ones, while most are just hiccups in our daily lives.  In my warped mind, everything would work well if folks simply thought as I do. Of course, that’s not going to happen in any existence here or elsewhere.

My goal is for every situation to turn out right. I can’t count the Christmases that I’ve ruined by constantly asking family members if they really are pleased with their gifts. Some days, Amy is exhausted from my inquiries if she is all right. My obsession with making things perfect backfires in that folks grow weary of my worry and questioning.

Plenty of people make fun of me over my choice of movies. I like those that have uplifting themes to them. “Dead Poets Society” and “The Notebook” are just two movies that I count as favorites. Both show the good of people and life, even in the midst of tragedy and strictness. I tear up during tender moments between couples, personal realization of potential, and even team unity. Those are things that make this life a little better.

The search for the ideal leads to a roller coaster of emotions. When my expectations are met, I’m elated. My life is filled with smiles and appreciation. However, when life throws a curve at what I want to be the ideal, my mood turns sour and I’m less than friendly. Yes, it’s foolish, and yes, I’ve changed much in the last few years, but at times, I still can be someone with whom it is hard to live.

I’m not sure anyone knows what I’m talking about when I refer to romanticism. Heck, I’m not sure I even know what I’m espousing. The ideal doesn’t exist on this planet; we struggle with maintaining a mediocre existence. On too many occasions, I’ve set myself up for disappointment by demanding the perfect. Luckily, my dear wife and two children put up with my quirks and love me in spite of them. That in itself is an idealistic love. I’m thankful for them.