Since I can remember, I’ve been idealistic. Not optimistic- I certainly fall into negative traps when things don’t go well. But idealistic? Feeling like even though things aren’t where I want them right now doesn’t mean the situation won’t change soon? Yes. That’s me.
There are many people in my life (and I love them deeply) who are steeped in reality. They insist on practicality. They ask the question “How” before getting to the …well, anything. I always felt that the “How” (as in HOW is this going to be accomplished) was totally secondary. The “How” would be figured out when absolutely necessary. I was often too busy moving towards my goal to get distracted by how I’d get there.
Over the last year and a half, and certainly since I started this blog, I’ve been suffocating in the “How”. A missing reality chip that seemed to be left out of my DNA crept in. Reality and adulthood felt synonymous. I admired (read: envied) those loved people in my life who focused so intently on the “How”. Until today.
A good way to describe unemployment is the feeling you might get from having the ground pulled out from underneath you. Even if you’ve never been unemployed, I’ll bet you’ve had that feeling somewhere along the way. Right? Sort of like you’re treading water, flailing about, trying to grab hold of something. Anything.
Pretty dark, I know.
That something to grab hold of depends on who’s drowning. We might try to grasp hold of someone to blame, the righteous ones are steady to their faith in God, some might settle on a plan that is totally dissatisfactory for a number of reasons but offers that glorious thing called stability. Sometimes all of the above.
For me, I realized I lost the idealism I had before. I labelled it naivete. I was so silly to not have a steady plan that was unsinkable. If only we had thought things through better. If only we had followed a different path. If only we had chosen what was sensible instead of what was challenging but meaningful.
It only just occurred to me that idealism is a gift. A motor that drives those lucky ones who possess it to keep on keepin’ on. Until we hit gold. Naysayers who believe it’s impossible – yes I’m speaking to the tiny voice inside my head too- will never get there. Success is for us lucky idealistic fools who know the “How” is less important than the “Who”, “What”, and “Why”.
I’m not sure if I’ve reclaimed my idealism in its original totality but I am now committed to working on it. To my realistic, beloved friends and family, you can have realism. I’ll take heaping doses of idealism from here on out.