An Idealists’ Manifesto
As a girl lucky enough to have had a supportive mother, teachers, mentors and friends I was used to having my praises sung. Many people in my life still sing them, inspiring me to move forward and reassuring me that I am indeed, going in the right direction.
But over the years, the tune has changed. It has been influenced by experience, setbacks and suffering, womanhood and a ruthless consumption of media.
In recent years some have begun whispering words of compromise, of settlement: An unsuccessful date turns into, “It’s not always about the spark;” An exciting new career idea is greeted with “That sounds lovely, but will you make enough to pay down your student loans”?; Heartache over inequalities and injustices are met with “Some things are just too big…”
These messages come from the world around me, from family and friends—media, ideologies meant to soothe and pacify in the face of the increasingly impossible task of remaining both sane and human. I admit that I too have begun to sing myself songs of complacency.
That’s the saddest song of all—the one shakily sung from our own mouths as our idealistic visions of the future fade.
If we are the lucky ones, in youth, we are told that we can achieve anything we put our minds to, that what we do will make a difference, that if we are busy being the best we can be we will meet our soul mate—who coincidentally will also be busy being the best they can be. We arrive abruptly at adulthood to find that nothing is certain. We can work our asses off and get stuck in job we hate that doesn’t pay a living wage.
People we love will die and the grief will bury us briefly. People will hurt us. The time we spend frantically running on the hamster wheel of self-improvement could potentially, still render us single for life.
Our lives are a series of uncertainties. Our happiness and security are never guaranteed. We all eventually come to know this. The tragedy occurs in the moment we accept defeat, when we start to tell ourselves to settle; when our fear of loneliness, of poverty and of hopelessness become stronger than our faith.
I will never accept defeat because there is one thing I am certain of, and that is enough.
In the face of hurt, pain and change,
of true suffering, of lost hopes, of bitterness;
In the face of every single thing that erodes our trust in humanity,
I never ever want to lose my sense of idealism.
I want to always believe in the very best of everything.
I want to always believe in:
Love at first sight,
Crazy kind of love,
Love that braves the distance,
Love that conquers all,
Love that lives forever there even when it dies there.
I want to always believe that:
One day, there will be peace,
that every soul is innately pure at the deepest most darkest recesses of its’ core,
that evil is manmade
and can be undone.
that joy is actually infinite.
When faced with the reflections of my own mortality and all of life’s uncertainties,’ I hope to remain a shameless idealist.
Whether I die old, peacefully in my sleep or after a gruelling battle with illness or in an unexpected accident—I want to know that even if I haven’t experienced even one blind hope or miracle—that someone somewhere has, and their stories of impossible possibility will turn into the revolutionary anthems of the idealist.
Even if my life turns out to be utter shit and contrary to all conventional definitions of “the good life”; I still want to live and die believing.
And if reincarnation is real, then in my next life I may be luckier.
What do you want to believe? What can you be certain of?
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Brianne Nettelfield
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: missidog at Flickr