Monday, April 30, 2012

The crazy idealism of youth

As a young person, teenager or even young adult, did you have a lot of crazy idealistic dreams? Are you yourself a young person? Do you still have those dreams, no matter your age?

Never let it go. The dreams may change, but never lose the capacity for being a dreamer. Have you been told: grow up, that’s not how the world works, stop daydreaming, or nobody lives that way?

Is your world bounded by walls? There are all kinds of walls: responsibilities, cultural mores, taboos, religion, laws, money, security, expectations and so on. You might want to head off in a new direction and then bump into one of those walls. It changes your direction. You head off down a new path, looking for a way past those walls -and bump into more walls.

You may feel that you are a rat in a maze. That’s not a hopeless feeling. At least the rat has a chance of getting the cheese. What if you discover you aren’t in a maze at all, but instead are in a big complicated box? There is no exit. There is no cheese.

Running through the box faster won’t get you to where you want to go. Activity doesn’t equal progress. You need new tactics. The first thing you need to do is to look at your life and see if you are in a box. Did other people put those walls up around you? Did you build some of them yourself?

Do you want to be free?

Then you need some new tools. Ditch the running shoes you’ve running the maze with. Put on some climbing spikes and climb over the wall. From your new viewpoint, you might be able to see where you want to go. Can’t climb over? Then take a sledge hammer and break through the wall, or use a shovel and tunnel under. It might be messy, but freedom usually is.

I’m tempted to offer some tactics for breaking out of the box, but that might end up being another wall. “The correct way to break out of the box.” Please. Maybe that’s why I’m suspicious of gurus of any stripe. The last thing I want is to be is such a guru.

Trust your heart. Find your own way. Love hard.



  1. A timely reminder Sixbears. I am trying to get out of my own maze and sometimes it can feel like an insurmontable struggle, close to loosing (or rather to giving-up) my ability to dream.

  2. I cannot believe that you didn't take time to arrange a meetup when you were down here this year. We have so very much in common with our philosophy of living and life in general...

    Maybe next year, that is if circumstance allows.

    Rob D

    1. I can't believe it either. I didn't do nearly as much traveling as I'd wanted this past winter. Didn't even make it down to the Keys. Now that I've got a much more reliable vehicle, there's hope. Next year, if the fates allow.

  3. I met a woman the other day who just lost a "good" factory job. They let everyone go with 6 months pay. I thought it would be a cool opportunity but she didn't seem to share my view. "what is your dream?" I asked (assuming everyone has one, right?) "Oh, I don't have a dream" is the response. "Well, what thrills you?" "Oh, I don't know"
    What do you do with that? I guess some folks are comfortable in the box. I'm guessing she'll find herself another box to hunker down in until the bottom falls out of that one too. Perhaps by then, she'll be ready to figure out what thrills her.

    1. Only a few will look at such a thing as a new start. They get comfortable with their cages.

  4. Sounds like very timely advice to me.

    Many of us need to step back and get a new outlook on where we are going!

  5. I always encouraged idealism in myself & my children. Without it we would never have experienced: starting businesses, travel, homeschooling, living without electric & running water, hiking Isle Royale several times or the happiness all our choices have brought us.