The Idealism Of Youth...
…Is not a phrase I’m entirely comfortable with.
Sure, there’s a maturity that comes with age - what we can refer to as wisdom. This experience also has a way of tempering our roughest, ‘least-rounded’ impulses which. in so many ways, is not at all a bad thing.
But the idealism of youth brings with it a daring, an audacity that has (more often than not) broadened our way of thinking, pushing our boundaries and forcing us to confront those things that hold us back yet we’ve taken for granted.
The idealism of youth is the ultimate counter to the cynicism that overtakes so much of how we think and act, after we’ve been beaten down by the trials and tribulations of “life”. It’s the promise that moves us forward, that pushes us to risk it all when the “sensible” thing to do would be not to.
That sense of optimism is something I’ve always strived to maintain, something I’ve never wanted to lose as I got older. I can’t say it’s been easy, it’s certainly an ongoing effort, but I now use it as a signal. If my persistent reaction to a situation is one of cynicism, then I know something needs to change. Because there’s nothing worse than giving in to the cynicism and becoming that person.
The reality is that idealism shouldn’t be a luxury that only the young enjoy - which is why the phrase bothers me so much. I’m uncomfortable with it’s implicit premise. It should really be a collective responsibility.