This Christmas I found myself wide awake in the middle of the night writing furiously to a long forgotten friend who I’d years ago had a short fling with. What started as some pleasant reminiscing had erupted into a torrent of shame, hidden feelings and personally exposing confessions. I was writing compulsively, unable to rest and unable to stop.
Like all great romantic moments, my compulsion to write was over shortly. What didn’t end shortly was my feeling that a lot of people are like me, lonely dreamers who read too many books, spend more time in their own heads than the real world and are slaves to moments. People who crave deeper meaning, don’t have many partners and therefore are forced to find meaning in other in other things, in moments.
For most part finding romance in moments is a good and life enhancing thing. Less is more, you learn to take joy and find fulfillment in the simple things; nice dances, personal gestures and brief connection. In the small exhibition in the Byard’s Brain museum dedicated to extinct relationships, no old love however bitter goes forgotten or despised. The problem with enjoying moments, however, is they don’t last. You find yourself perhaps reading romance into times when it didn’t happen. Romantic moments after all in order to survive must live in a vacuum, while human relationships need to evolve change and die when their time is due.
Holding on to moments makes rejection a much bigger danger. It doesn’t just destroy any chance of future connection but delegitimizes and perhaps destroys the moments you did have. People who you don’t actually know that well can start having a disproportionate power and impact over your life. Worst of all, there is a danger of not taking risks with people in the real world to preserve the sanctity of the romantic moment living in the back of your head.
As a student of history I can confidently say that a romanticised past isn’t an accurate one. I can also confirm that when you pedestalise something it becomes much harder to reach. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy times in our life which at least if only through retrospect, make us happy. It also doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with enjoying a short sweet connection. The important thing in life and romance is to balance your own story with the requirement to treat yourself with kindness, treat others like human beings and drive your own progress by taking risks. Needless to say, I never did send that letter.