Friday, August 8, 2008


"Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist."
George Carlin

I'm not sure that I like that quote. Although, I do agree with it. My problem with it lies in the fact that if I'm being honest with myself I have to admit that I'm a complete idealist. My mind survives by walking down parallel alleys that only exist in Norman Rockwell paintings. I've been disappointed plenty though and I don't THINK I'm cynical. Atleast, I don't want to be a cynic.Sure, I don't expect much out of people anymore, but I tell myself that's because it's better to be pleasantly surprised when my low standards are surpassed. I tried having high standards before but it was exhausting always being frustrated when they couldn't be met. True, I'm at a loss when someone asks me who my hero is. I don't get what the big deal about heroes is anyway... What's the fascination with idolizing people? We're all human. Doesn't that somehow level the playing field? Seems to me all the big names are just a sex / steroid / drug scandal away from being unseated anyhow. But I'm not a cynic or anything. ;-)

The problem with idealism is simply that the root of the word is ideal and another meaning for ideal is perfect. I'm pretty sure perfection has to be some sort of curse. Nothing good can come of it. Just think about it. What makes us the strongest? Struggles. Overcoming the odds. Laughing in the face of adversity. With that in mind, who would ever want everything to be perfect? What a rip-off! Where do you go from there? At least when you hit rock bottom the only place to go is up. I'm assuming the only place to go is down when you reach the top?

I'll still always ooh and ahh over all things classicly ideal: white picket fences and rocking chairs on covered front porches, lemonade stands and tire swings, little girls running around in Easter dresses, and the smell of cookies baking for after school snack. I'll still never feel like a good enough parent if we don't keep traditions like going to the pumpkin farm and making smores on campouts. I'll always feel sad that the classic stereotypical family with both a mother and a father is now considered an old fashioned luxury and most of us eat food out of packages because we don't have the time or the skills to do it the way our grandparents did. My dream life is a sort of Pollyanna meets 1950's suburbia meets Little House On The Prairie wannabe existence. If I'm not an idealist then I don't know what else to call it...

I just don't like to think that somewhere between being a person who recognizes a certain way that they wish things could be and being a person who has lived enough to know that they can't always get their way you become a person who is jaded and negative. I'd like to think that the same attitude that makes a person want things to be good and ideal can help them overcome the urge to become a cynic. We can be idealists about our personalities too can't we?

"If we listened to our intellect, we'd never have a love affair. We'd never have a friendship. We'd never go into business, because we'd be cynical. Well, that's nonsense. You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."
Ray Bradbury


  1. I have to refer to my favorite quote here - it's better to aim for the stars and miss than aim for a pile of manure and hit it.
    I am also an idealist.

    My mother isn't. Her words of wisdom? "Don't ever expect anything, then you won't be disappointed", and "Never put anyone on a pedestal because they'll eventually fall off." I think riding that line between those two sides is just about...ideal?

    Great blog by the way - very thought provoking.

  2. Love the thoughts Natalie, exactly how I feel also. I always think I am so cynical, but put me in a situation and I always end up being an idealist. I still think life is Pollyanna and Little House on the Praire! Then always seemed a little bit surpried when its not. But, I still say the cynical thing, my brain says one thing, my heart another. Usually I go with my heart! Thanks for the thoughts.