practical idealism

Sun Bath, Annah, Estonia © Jim Korpi

“For all the frustrating mass movement toward banal self-destruction, I had the good fortune of being forced by circumstances to work at a corporation to get off welfare. I listened and watched the people there, somehow having the good fortune to see value in some of how they lived. In particular, and helped by reflections on my own self-destruction at an early age, I settled into a desire for a simple life and willingness to sacrifice a lot for it… Achievements pass quickly, like leaves scuttling along streets on blustery autumn days. On the other hand, in my experience eternity is made up of the relationships that stand the test of time.”
– A Friend

As more and more people I surround myself with trip over the speed bump of turning 30 and recognize the reality of 40, I hear a similarity of sentiment.

“Maybe my job doesn’t have to be this big meaningful thing that defines me,” a friend from California confided in a phone conversation that made two hours disappear in my six-hour drive home for Thanksgiving. “I’m beginning to realize that maybe it’s more important for me to find a job that pays me enough that I can do the things I want to do: travel to see friends and family, eat good food, take vacations, have a family…maybe…maybe I want to have a family some time soon.”

The “soon” of my friends begins to take on an immediate desperation in contrast to the “soon” of our 20’s hinting at a procrastination of decision.

“I’m a practical idealist,” a relative declared when I questioned him about taking his business in a different direction. The idea of a “practical idealist” baffled me. Each of these words seemed to lie about the other.

My own idealism often sweeps me up like a Pacific Coast current. With its “SAVE THE WORLD, NOW!” push-and-pulling unconscious undertow, it spins me in a off-course blinding white foam of not-knowing-up-from-down tumbling and washes me on the shores breathless and disoriented. Spitting the water from my lungs, I’m elated to have breath.

This humbling crash amongst the tides in the nature of myself reveals how practical becomes the adjective of idealist.

Posted December 2nd, 2011 in Uncategorized.

One comment:

  1. pops:

    Jim, it seams that most of us get stuck doing jobs, that we do not really like. Why? To try to have it all, All that we do not need. Looking for a job? I believe my son once told me ” Pops Go where your heart is”
    One day I hope too!!!

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