Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Surviving Being an Idealist

I’m an idealist. I am a dreamer. Always have been, always will be. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It may make me seem more naïve than other people, but I don’t mind that. The most difficult thing about being an idealist is that you are frequently disappointed.
Last night, we watched a very interesting documentary on the singer and political activist Phil Ochs. He was such a motivated idealist, but ended up being beaten down by the reality of life. He committed suicide at the age of 35. Just like my favorite author, Jack Kerouac, life got the better of him. He tried escaping reality by drinking heavily and finally couldn’t stand staying alive anymore.
Watching this documentary made me realize a few things. 1. I am a total idealist in every area of my life, but predominately politically and in regards to parenting. 2. I have lived through my fair share of being defeated by the reality of life. I have struggled with depression in my past. I have also had bouts of heavy drinking.
Unlike Ochs and Kerouac, however, I am a mother. I have discovered that above all else, my children’s well-being comes first in my life. Despite the fact that I cannot change the world and the difference I can make on a global scale is minimal, I can change things for my family and make a difference in the lives of the people I love.
I still feel powerless and disillusioned and hopeless and lost sometimes. However, I also feel like I’ve found my place in life. I know that there are little people who depend on me. I have found joy in being a mother, in making a difference on a small scale. I love being home with my children. I love taking care of my animals. I love being a wife. Even though I haven’t been able to change the world (yet), life is good.

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