Two years ago.
I stood on the peak of the mountain of Idealism with its green trees waving.
Two years later.
I stoop and touch the ground of Realism to pick the brown leaves falling.
Many things happened in just two years specifically when a person moves from their teenage years to their 20s. (It is how it is supposed to be, isn’t it?) Just when your idealistic side makes you think that you are not like everyone else and you could be the change the world needs, reality knocks you down and shouts to your face that you are just another shout into the void—here today and gone tomorrow.
Idealism accompanied me since I realized that I had inner voices. Like a person I walked hand in hand with, it made me look at a glass half full rather than half empty. It made me think about the rainbow rather than the storm. It made me believe that humans are good at heart. It made me expect that somehow and somewhere, there is an escape and cure to all the deceit, envy, greed, corruption, poverty, and sin. It made me hope in falling star, wishing well, pinky promise, and forever after. It made me keep going. It made me.
Maybe, I was just lucky for the first two decades of my life. I got things (not necessarily material ones) which I wished for without even working too hard for it, without being too frustrated about it. I just say a simple prayer (which is sometimes not even thoughtful) and do the things I know must be done and—voila! Mine. I don’t know how one would call it. What could be the right word? Lucky? Blessed? But whatever you call it, these random granted wishes made me believe that this is a beautiful world to live in; that there is Someone somewhere who will give me my desires no matter what.
Oh, was I wrong?
Now, I am nearing twenty-two. And it is at this age, Reality arrived in search of me.
As what I have said, the first two decades of my life were favorable. So I guess I have used most of my beginner’s luck already.
Life happens. I woke up one day to the realization that the coin has been flipped; that the wheel has turned. Cheers to the downs of life. You don’t get what you want. You don’t end up with the one you love. Your real ambitions are fading. You are running out of time. Just as you reach the age when you think you could do anything you want, reality says you don’t. And just as you reach the age when you think you could be someone great, reality says you don’t. Not yet.
I think it is not always good to let your thoughts jump too high because if they fall and fail, the harder the hit, the greater the disappointment. But will you really limit your aim?
At the end of the day, somewhere in my body—perhaps in the marrow of my bones— I would continue to be an Idealist –but this time, with necessary realism.
Realism and Idealism are two poles. They lie exactly on the opposite points of the globe. Though at one point, they meet and give a person a so-called dilemma. Or imperfection would be a better word. But isn’t that what makes this life more beautiful? The odds, flaws and wrongs add up to a roller-coaster ride.
So I pick now the brown leaves of Realism which were once green leaves of Idealism. And I hope one day a new tree would grow bearing new hopes and dreams.
Life is so full of surprises that deciding to stay on one side is not enough. You have to keep going though, despite any pole you choose.
Just like what the Idealist Carl Sandburg had said, “I don’t know where I am going. But I am on my way.”
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Written: January 9, 2015