When Idealism starts to fade.

22 Jul

A man in his twenties is idealistic, a man in his thirties who is still idealistic is a fool ¬ Anonymous.

When teenage sets in questions about preferred career and paths start being thrown at us; what would you like to be in life, what is your career of choice, is that the only choice you have, any other options plan bs maybe, how are your grades in school, will they (grades) help you achieve what you want to be???? Whatever answers we might have, you will always see a nodding head full of understanding, up to now I haven’t met anyone who said that their bubble (on their dreams) was bust by the adults in their lives when they were young. It seems the adults know how life deals its cards but since dreaming is not bad they let you enjoy. When I was a starry eyed teenager in my first day of high school we were taken to the Principals office; the guys who reported that particular day, our ol’ ladies and men seated as we stood we were asked the same old question ‘what would you like to be’? And the Doctors, Pilots, Engineers, CEOs (you would think CEO was a position you landed on your first job offering!!) were plenty. The principal then asked our ol’ ladies and men if they were in the same professions we had just said, NONE were! He  asked us, who would be the teachers to our kids if none of us wanted to be one, who would be our employees if we all wanted to be CEOs, who would be the clinical officers and nurses if we all wanted to be Doctors! I could see a smirk on many of the parents faces ‘some grounding for these fellas’ I could bet was what they thought at that moment. He nevertheless went on to tell us to stick on those dreams and he would keep on reminding us for the rest of the four years.

On the second year the bar on the dreams is changed, same thing happens in the third year a lower bar or a changed bar! On the final year of school many finally settled for something different from that original dream.

In college dreams get realigned or reupholstered. That sense of optimism in getting the ideal is high; get married at 25 you hear some ladies say, get a six figure paying job, get man to pay a million bob dowry for the Rita Muchiris around, the men want to be bachelors for life and get as many kids as possible (wild oat agriculture!), Chris Kirubi is doing it, so it can be done, a twisted manhood nirvana of some kind…

A few regret letters, failed interviews or getting a job you don’t really like, calls for yet another redrawing of the ideal. ‘I’ll get married when I get a better job’, maybe I could start on that four figure salary after all, maybe a million bob dowry is a fairy tale after all might be heard form a previously idealistic lass, for the dude who thought wild oat agriculture was all sweet, changes to specialised/ greenhouse farming when the cost of pampers, baby food, medical bills put a strain on that pocket of his. Reality puts a leg firmly on the door, creeps in slowly and gives you one helluva slap and sticks with you like super glue *sic*.

I guess this is why I see some disillusioned people running around, people who refuse to let go… But I do not want to judge, I don’t know if the rain beats all of us or if it is selective, maybe you could tell me; what you think of idealism and youth, what were your idealistic goals, and if you managed to tap all of them if not what happened? When did that idealism start fading or is it still there…


Posted by on July 22, 2011 in Breaking Loose!


10 responses to “When Idealism starts to fade.

  1. Dan

    July 22, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    The clear solution here is mentorship: a mentor will safely guide the youth as they navigate the mucky waters of career development that are haunted by inflation, personal losses even heart breaks.
    What is clear to me: Goals are achievable 🙂

    • mackel9

      July 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      That is very true, I had forgotten about mentorship in this, now you have given it a new course, but then again only a few percentage get that Chance a a guiding hand into adulthood, there many making the discoveries themselves the hard way *don’t mind the cliche* don’t you think?

  2. Nyambura

    July 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Interesting read…I don’t think idealism should totally fade away…like the above yin yang symbol; Idealism & Realism are sort of complementary…one creates the blueprint the other makes the blueprint a reality…one helps to make the blue print ‘practical’…the other helps in coming up with 101 ways of making said blue print a reality should an obstacle come up… *scratches head* I think?

    In regards to my career, it was not even on my career options list in high school…so I sort of stumbled into it. Funny bit is, I love what I do to bits…so it turned out be a blessing after all.

    • mackel9

      July 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Thanks Nyambura, maybe with some idealism and mentor-ship Dan talks about you can realize some of those idealistic goals. Thanks again for passing by.

  3. OtienoHongo

    July 26, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I think it is a bit naive to expect people in school to start picking up career choices, they just don’t have enough information. That is why when you ask school kids what they want to be, they all give the same answers, doctors, lawyers, engineers etc. because that is what is prominent in the society. As you move into college and graduate, the world starts to open around you and you discover more interesting stuff. I often for example hear people who say they want to study B.Ed laughed at and told teaching does not pay yet out here it does not mean that you can only be a teacher if you study B.Ed.

    Concerning idealism, I do not necessarily agree with the quote you began with, if anything I think those who lose their idealism as they get older are actually beginning their death process. Some of my ideals have actually been strengthened by age as I now have enough evidence to prove me that I was right. However we need to separate this from the idealism that is create through romanticizing certain stuff. I mean, when we were rebel teenagers we saw people like Castro, Gaddafi and Che as heroes and thought everything they did was above reproach. However with time you become conscious to atrocities committed etc…

    Finally to answer your last question, my idealism on some stuff has grown stronger but on other stuff it has faded. I guess this answer does not help but everything does not need to be in black and white, that’s why we are human.

    • mackel9

      July 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      I had to reread this a few times, it really deep. So what you are saying is the Idealism stays but not romanticize it? But I thought anything Ideal is already ideal is romanticized or where do we put the difference, could you have an example maybe from some of your goals you had way back, if that is not asking for too much that is? Do you think that fantasy and idealism are related or not?
      You last answer hold much truth, with a clear guideline maybe some ideals can be achievable and the far fetched ones lost.

  4. OtienoHongo

    July 29, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Let me give one example to illustrate this. After reading and questioning widely, I came to realize that schools do more harm than good for a majority of people. I met people who are in the resistance movement as far as factory schooling is concerned and also vowed that just like someone of them, I too will shun schools and not take my kids there. Back then I was not married and did not have kids. Many years later I pay school fees for my kids. So have my ideas about schooling changed? the answer is not, if anything I am now even more convinced factory schooling is not ideal. But I am more realistic about how to go about it. I realize that because I am part of a society and community, it is at times foolhardy to just be a hard headed rebel. So I take my kids to school but ensure that I can still counter the mis-education that they might get and fill in the gaps that might not be provided in schools (I bet you remember our conversation we had on intelligence). See this article I wrote sometimes back on the subject of schooling

    As usual, it is a pleasure to engage with you

    • mackel9

      July 29, 2011 at 2:22 pm

      I do remember the talk on intelligence, the way you have managed to put it, I now get your drift. If you had the time you could always opt for home schooling though it has not caught on these parts, that way you can tailor what the little ones get in the name of education. Let me check that article and may be we could talk more.

  5. Rick

    August 18, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Idealism in your 30s makes you a fool? Yes that sounds like the world we live in but not the world I want to live in! I think there is a place for idealism but only as a balance to being practical. The one who believes it’s a choice between one or the other is the fool if anything, it’s like saying the heart is not connected with the head!

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