Monday, May 02, 2016

Keeping your ship afloat.

How to strike a balance between idealism and pragmatism? It's tricky. Maybe it's one of those life things where you must figure out which way you lean, then ensure you have plenty of shipmates who lean differently. Who will prevent you, the idealist, from capsizing into "fantasism" and you, the pragmatist, into cynicism.

I forever veer towards idealism.

When the Labour leader vote came around, I went for Corbyn. I can see he will probably never unite the party or be prime minister or do half the stuff he'd like to. But it felt too compromising and tactical to do anything other than stand with his lovely lefty rhetoric and ideals. I'm pretty glad lots of people are more worldy wise than me on this ... but I'm also pretty glad we've got him as leader for a bit.

Closer to home, I've been reading about 'affair-proof'ing marriage. (No, no trouble in Camp Potts!) It is pragmatic in the extreme. Cursory summation: never mind rights or wrongs; behave in the way that makes your spouse love and stay with you.

A lot of it rankles. But I have more patience with pragmatism here than in politics. I think that, in marriage, idealism easily slips into fantasy. You think your husband should adore the ground you walk on? That guy is more fantasy than ideal. You want a wife who excites and admires you every day? No real woman can sustain that. You believe your spouse will stick to his / her vows because it's the right thing to do? Few people can do that without a LOT of help and hard work. Let's work with the reality and not our ideals.

Why is it easier for me to accept pragmatic advice about marriage? No doubt partly because I have dedicated more time to thinking about how to make a marriage work and am better equipped to hold realities and ideals in tension.

And yet, I'm kind of happy with my different stances. As I see it, there's way too much cynicism in politics and way too much "fantasism" in marriage. If I can veer away from those extremes, I'll be happy. And there are worse things to shoot for, on these turbulent waters, than my own happiness.

No comments: