Madeleine Blais: Young People Need Pipe Dreams

As someone who has spent his time playing too much Super Mario Brothers, even the expression ‘pipe dream’ conjurs a very funny image in my head. But my attention was directed to an article in the Boston Globe from Madeleine Blais in which she muses over the advice she was to give to her graduating class of journalism students.

Madeleine Blais:

This spring, I was tempted to give an un-graduation speech and to suggest that the newly minted grads lower their expectations, that they rein in their rambunctious natures, and recognize a painful truth:

Even in the best of times, your 20s can be rough.

You’re going to run up against bosses who have it in for you. The fault lines in your family will become clear in a way they may not have been earlier in your life. Friendships you thought would last forever get redefined and sometimes erode altogether. Your very youthfulness will inspire as much envy as it does admiration.

And these are not the best of times.

And then I thought twice. Young people setting forth in the tradition of James Joyce to forge in the smithy of their souls the uncreated consciousness of their race need pipe dreams, not lectures, now as much as ever.

I find Madeleine’s words comforting on two fronts.

Firstly, it’s not just me. The twenties are bloody hard. Apparently. I always had this sense that everybody was having much better luck making sense of life than I am. Hopefully I am wrong.

But more than that I am encouraged by her acknowledgement that young people have inspirational needs as much as economic ones. I never intended ‘inspirational’ content to form such an integral part of this blog. It is just that I find I need inspiration twenty four hours a day. Apathy is a considerable foe to my creativity and I am saddened to admit that encouragement does not come freely from the corners of my life I expected and hoped it would.

So let’s all drink to pipe dreams… and inspiration and encouragement, wherever we should find it.

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