This is a hard pill to swallow, but it must be said. Idealism will not serve you well as an adult. In the most serious anti-dad voice I can use, I am telling you: learn to abandon your precious ideas.
I’m a twenty-nine year old idealist who has put in a concerted amount of effort into being a decent human being and an artist who lives above integral compromise. I write what I want, when I want, and for the projects that interest me. I write, record, produce, and perform the music I want, when I want. I create videos and visual art when I’m inspired and I do it exactly how I want. That being said, it’s a whole lot of washing shit off my face, staying humble, and biting my tongue. I struggle daily while everyone else slouches towards nirvana.
Its really an education issue. No one tells you the important things as a teenager. You hear about the prestige of good ideas and forward thought, but this is through a lens of successful historical darwinism on a major scale, not daily processes and interactions with a world that gives no fucks.
No one told me how to build my credit score. No one told me how important your credit score is. No one told me there are people you will date who actively try to disrespect and belittle to control you. No one told me some view love as an act of possession. The list can only be quantified with some obscure top tier scientific notation. Your public education will cover very little in your public life.
It’s hard. Just living in a basic way. Living is an infinite act of reacting to a string of contextual nuances which makes interactions with corner-cutters and downright shitty people infinite as well. Who are you to those that only value monetization of self and a curated social presentation to further their monetization of self? The answer is, You are not shit to them.
Though there is no real winning or losing in life, more just being alive or not being alive, this means a shitty dude will always “win.” There’s rarely a slow clap moment for doing the right thing. You get nothing for being selfless except a selfless gravitas, but that again takes effort to project and then has to be agreed upon by a general consensus to be quantified.
If your reaction is, “I don’t care how people perceive me, I’ll die alone in solidarity with the ethos I align with and continue to collect and grow.” You are a rare breed. A glutton for punishment. Welcome to a long life of pain, grief, and surely at some point, substance abuse. The dissonance between an empathetic, thoughtful lifestyle and a successful lifestyle in all measurements of comfort and personal freedom is nauseating. Hardline stances create hardline lifestyles.
If your reaction was, “Good things happen when you align yourself with good ideas and healthy astute ideals.” Then go ahead and stop before you get ten to twenty years into doing “the right thing.” You don’t want to be the forty-something year old who realizes the inane absurdity of existing is no one holds a gun to your head and tells you to be miserable. It’s a series of choices made that lead to more choices. The right answer is not always the answer.
I myself am an idealist. I get beat up and belittled by my choices every day. The difference in the advice I give and the advice I use is my idea of success. Success to me is a mix of sustainable controlled social presentation and keeping your monetary status above costs of your social presentation.
I create art to communicate and connect with new people and I sustain production of the art and my life while doing what I do. Is it ideal in worldly comforts? No. Is it ideal to my personal truth and self-satisfaction? Yes.
Be pragmatic. Know when an ideal is functional. If you die for one ideal, then who pushes for the other righteous ideals you keep in your breast pocket? Who keeps pushing that righteous weight after it rolls over you from trying to save a daisy? How many people will get hurt when that weight tumbles back?
A dead good person is just a dead person. A non-functional good person is useless to the world. And making use of yourself is an act of goodness. Goodness is an adjective given to an active agent of life. Be pragmatic. Be functional.
This is not a Disney film or an after school special. This is real life. A good idea is sterile without an effective systemic vehicle. So keep that goodwill production up and drop the little issues clogging up your gears.