To Welcome Disillusionment

I’ve always found “disillusionment” wrought with negative connotation. It’s a standard coming-of-age type thing everyone goes through where we find out, surprisingly or not surprisingly, we’re not going to be the next rocket scientist. The next secretary of state, or pancreatic surgeon. That that guy or girl is not, in fact, the love of your life. Or that everything is not going to be peachy now that you are (your wife is) making $X salary. Very often, actually, it’s a lot more personal than that.

But suddenly I’m looking at the root word, “illusion,” and I’m reminded it’s synonymous with “fantasy” and “false impression.” Then, I’m thinking, isn’t disillusionment a good thing? If I’ve been romanticizing a falsehood then wasn’t it the best thing to get that out of my system, anyway?

Sometimes, we’re stuck in a rut but it’s not a matter of knowing how to get out of it–it’s that oftentime we don’t want to. It’s a delicate balance between having determination, perserverence … and banging our heads up against the wall.

So why do we bang our heads up against the wall? We call it perserverence or our “plan” but what if we make no progress or come to harm ourselves–intellectually, mentally or spiritually? We just look for the next distraction. The next addiction. The next deal and the next buck all the while convincing ourselves that we have control. Where is the hope?

If we see no reason to change things, it means that–through now–we’ve had no reason to change our value systems. More simply put, we see no reason to change our priorities, or reevaluate any of our past choices. And I think this, in a way, is our most innate sense of survival lashing out. We seek to justify the basis of our existence, purpose and the way we’ve figured out how best to do or deal with things. It’s nature and nurture–most likely a combination of both. And we try to convince ourselves that what we’ve learned along way while growing up is the best way. That the destination for which we’re striving towards is the ultimate goal.

And so. The conception of “disillusionment” being a tragedy irks me. What if the resulting consequence is just a shift in values, a reprioritization? Wouldn’t this just mean that we are vulnerable–and imperfect–at our core? That just might be the truth. Reality, if you will. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to change something that needs to be changed instead of being stuck on the fact that that something’s not all it’s cracked up to be?

That’s not to say that I don’t think that the most important thing in our lives is to dream. Because it is–it’s simply having vision. It’s having the foresight. Thinking not outside the box but without even the recognition of one. Working hard. To play it smart and well, mixing in a minimal amount of business sense never hurt anyone. What is the ultimate way to achieve happiness? If you had to choose a life full of pleasure or a life full of meaning–which would you choose?

Too often, our interpretations reveal less about that which we interpret than they do about ourselves. They reveal what we want to defend, what we want to attack, what we want to ignore, what we’re unwilling to question…

It’s just good to be adaptable, sometimes.