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The Hopeless Romantic: The Ideal Life
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The Hopeless Romantic: The Ideal Life
A bit of a universal spread on the old idealist philosophy.
[780 words]
Charles Cotterman
[September 2002]
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The Hopeless Romantic: The Ideal Life
Charles Cotterman

   I'm an idealist, by philosophy and practice. I can't get around it, and even in my most depressed moods, I can't stop it. I've learned, in my last year of high school, that life is a gift, one that should be cherished, every second of it. No matter how sad you are, something can give you joy--you just have to open up your life to such experiences. The smell that fills the kitchen when you're making bacon, or the taste of a really good glass of orange juice in the morning, when you've been asleep all night and it's the first liquid that hits your tounge. The impossible colors that the sunrise makes, and being able to stay up all day and compare those to the impossible colors the sunset displays as well. A sudden breeze on a really hot day, with no wind. Listening to music that really touches you--and knowing that very few people also feel that way about it, because the music isn't the kind that everyone else listens to, like choir music or jazz. And if you can't find something around you, memories serve just as well. Crying at weddings, holding a newborn baby, walking in wet grass when it's hot outside, smelling the barbecue on a summer day, or watching the snow pile up on a winter's night, and just knowing that you weren't going to be going to school the next day.
   Maybe I'm a bit foolish to live this way. But I'm not the only idealist. Superman was an idealist, so was Lincoln, so was Jesus, religiously speaking or not. I figure I'm just following the teachings of thousands upon thousands of people who had the right idea, but were just too outnumbered to make a difference. Every poet who has ever written about something that makes them smile will agree with me, that feeling is *good*. I live by that feeling.
   And of course (as if you couldn't guess...) this relates back to my feelings on Love, too. No matter how many failed relationships I've had--and I've had some--there were always really incredible moments within them. I loved a girl, and we only had about a day together before we decided to stay friends. It made me incredibly sad to know that it was over, but in the end, no matter how sad it made me, that one day was so incredible, thinking about it helps me keep a good perspective on it all. So I live with the memories of happiness instead of the memories of heartbreak. Most people tend to take the worst of love, in order to get over it. I, however, take the opposite stance--I take the best of whatever I had, store it away in my memory, and bring it up whenever I start to forget why I am the way I am. I like being the hopeless romantic, the ever-present knight, no matter how many people notice it, because I know someday, I'll find my permanent happiness. She's out there somewhere. This much I'm sure of, don't ask me how, I just know, and have faith, that she's there.
   Foolish? Maybe. Idealistic? Hopefully. I also hope that many of you take the time to stop and smell the roses, because that is truely, the first idea I can ever remember hearing about, relating to what I speak of. I stopped and smelled the roses, and to quote Frost, "That has made all the difference."
   Beauty is everywhere, but only if you live in the moment. If you stop to think about what someone or something will look like or act like in 30 years, you will realize that beauty is fleeting. But so is life, and existence. If you don't live life in the now, then the now becomes meaningless--you force yourself to live in an ever-increasingly bleak future. Don't do that to yourself, because, to quote Doc Brown of "Back to the Future" fame, "The future isn't written." In 30 years, you could be facing your life long partner--let's say, for the sake of gender clarity, your wife--and realize one of two things--either she's not as pretty as she once was, or she's just as beautiful as the day you met her. If you live in the moment, I promise you, the latter will be the truth.
   Go look up "Composed Upon Westminster Bridge" by Wordsworth. It's everything I've said here compressed into 14 lines, it's more succinct and more meaningful than I could ever hope to be with my happy ramblings. Just remember the beauty of life, the beauty (especially!) of love, past, present or future. Things will get better, I promise you.



"Are you guys ever gonna quit writing this crap? Nobody cares if you can't get dates." -- Kate.
"Oh my God! You are a senior at Westminster! That explains everything." -- Kate.
"18 year olds know nothing about love; they are not mature enough" -- -.
"I ask all those reviewing to please pay no attention to any personal comments made upon my essays, or for that matter, Rob Hagans'. Mine are simply a statement on how I live. If you would actually read into these articles, Kate, or for that matter, *read* them, I'm sure you would see that the reason I'm writing this is not because I can't get dates, it's because I've found a new way to live. I hardly find your assessment of me fair, seeing as you don't know me, and have never met me. I'm in no way trying to get a date by posting these--my email is not shown and I simply wish to see that other people think the way that I do. You are obviously not one of these people. "don't tell all of us dreamers out there how we should feel", Kate, as you said to Rob in one of your more personal reviews. If you don't like my writings for a personal reason, then leave me alone. I want to know what people think that don't know me, and probably never will, and have no connection to me, six degrees or otherwise. That said, I understand posting a review to my own work is in bad taste--but I felt the need to post a response to such a personal slight upon me. I invite everyone who has a comment on the essay itself--mechanically, or if the words it contain touch you personally--to let me know via this review board." -- Charles.
"both of your essays are very well written and i agree on many of your points thanks for writing on the flip side" -- Stills, towson, md, usa.
"To whatshisname who left himself anonymous (I wonder why):"Hey! I had four boyfriends and have lived with my current boyfriend for the past two years. And yes, I am very much in love with him, thank you very much. So don't you DARE generalise 18 yo's like that EVER AGAIN, that's just prejudice." By the way, Charles, I read your essay and thought your philosophy was realistically optimistic. That's what I call dreaming within your own boundaries. It's a good way of looking at life and I honestly cannot see why why Kate or whatshisname were so mean about it." -- Harriet, UK.
"It's good to see a young man realize that love is a precious thing. And to Rob's insane ex age doesn't matter to the heart. If you love someone you can be 17 or 18 or you can 30 it doens't matter. And what makes you think that you know anything about love either. And I really liked you essay it is well written and the truth in my eyes. Rob's not so insane ex." -- Kris.
"Oh look, another biased review from Kris, which is interesting considering Rob never had a girlfriend before he dated Kate. You are insane as well as delusional." -- Shauna.
"I am friends with Kris and not only has she never dated Rob, but she would also never be that judgemental. Shame on you, Robert." -- Sarah.
"Well...I can only say that this is highly amusing to me..and considering I do not know of this Kris person, I must just say that it's a wonderful attempt at improving existing reviews. Keep on bashing one another please, it is inspirational. One should write a story about that one..." -- The German.
"Kristin once again. I'm really glad all these people say they know when they've never met me. And I was Rob's girlfriend over a year ago BEFORE Kate." -- Kris.
"I was experiencing emotional and mental weariness when i came across your piece. I can't exactly explain how it affected me but i felt the kind of rest that i needed at the moment. Your optimistic views encouraged me beyond explanation and somehow i felt like part of me was awakened once again. I usually spend time composing poems or short essays when i feel the urge to release what i feel inside, but time and situations hindered me from continuing. Anyway... i just want to thank you Charles for this wonderful piece. Certainly some people *can't* understand you but there are other idealists out there... and such essays are delicious food to us. Keep up the great work!" -- Raquel, Baguio, Philippines.
"Ah, Kate? Does anybody in your life at the present time beat you? Because if they don't, they really need to start. I've known Charlie for a good many years, and he is without a doubt, the finest man I've had the honour of knowing. I also knew a Nazi bitch named Kriistal. Kriistal used to torture small animals for fun, and drink Yak's blood while Satan-worshipping. The two of you should get to-gether for whatever demonic rituals you practice to make up for being a sub-standard girlfriend, a point quite eloquently demonstrated by your ex. " -- Brentyn .
"By the way, Kate, have a great day! :)" -- Brentyn .
"Read these pieces by Hadans and Cotterman. I'd classify them as self-indulgent drivel, at best. It's no longer amusing to see how you spoiled, immature, little creeps have tried to turn this venue into a chat room for post-adolescent morons. You girls have absolutely no concept of morality or self-respect and think because you have a pair of tits and that smelly pink thing between your legs, you are irresistable to anyone able to produce an erect penis. The boys (I can't call them men) can't seem to make up their mind whether they'd prefer to eat pussy or suck dick and to some, it probably doesn't make any difference. I, me, us, we, that's what the worthless lot of you is all about. I won't even say may God help you because even He must have lost interest in saving your souls by now. Despite having said all this, I'm going to close with a kind thought for all of you. Why don't you try to talk your parents into getting married for Christmas, (assuming you know who they are)? " -- THE OLD MAN WHO HATES KIDS.


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© 2001 Charles Cotterman
May 2001

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