Spurred to write this by a quote posted by my friend Alicia.
At some point, every idealist asks him or herself: “What am I paying for moral high ground? How much am I willing to sacrifice to uphold and honor my values? Is it worth it?” We don’t always see immediate benefits, we are told constantly to “get real” or to “focus on the here and now” or to stop pretending because “that’s just the way things are”. Worse, these things often come to us from those we really care about; friends, family, mentors. Once in a while we even catch ourselves saying them.
In the deepest core of our being, we sometimes start to wonder if we have made the right decision, choosing to chase after things that don’t exist – and we wonder if it’s worth it, to never be fully satisfied. We start to question whether we are holding out for the right things or whether everyone and everything would be better off if we just went with the flow. Especially when opportunities present themselves for “pretty good” realities to take shape, we wonder if it would not be better if we just accepted that there will never be a perfect reality; yet there is some part of us that can’t help thinking that we’d be missing out on so much potential if we went down this path. That ideal is still out there, somewhere, and what if by choosing to compromise now, I prevent myself from attaining it later?
“Inside every cynic, there is a disappointed idealist.” I think that at least one component of that cynicism comes from the knowledge that your choices have consequences, and the fear that comes with that knowledge. The fear that somehow, that disappointment is your own fault, and that it could have been prevented if only you had stuck to your guns, if only you’d had a stronger will. Idealism can be costly; when entire realities hinge upon single decisions, it is easy to become paralyzed.
I write the above, believing myself to be some measure of idealist. Maybe those with stronger convictions will disagree.