Ideals are such a strange thing when you really think about them. Primarily because they're almost always just that: Ideal: a conception of something in its perfection (as dictionary.com would tell us). The epitome of our mind's eye's view of the most perfect example of something. And well, let's face it - perfect never (maybe almost never) exists in real life.

So why is it then that since we're born we're constantly told to strive for these ideals? When you're a kid you think of the ideal job, start to grow to look forward to the ideal friends, the ideal school, the ideal mate, the ideal college, the ideal city, the ideal job (again, but in a different perspective), the ideal project, the ideal hobby, the ideal lifestyle, the ideal house, the ideal kids, the ideal life for them, and the whole cycle starts all over again. Kinda funny that we go from wanting to be an astronaut to a white picket fence with two and a half kids and a dog. So why this constant obsession over idealism?

"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars." - Les Brown

A quote that of course, starts to articulate an answer to the question I posed. Never mind the fact that the quote doesn't make sense scientifically, since technically the moon is much much closer than the stars, so it should be the other way around, but that doesn't sound nearly as poetic :p I digress. The point is that we should, as people strive towards perfection, to always work towards this goal of infallibility, and if you don't make it there, you'll get pretty close, and that's not half bad. A little depressing when you really spell it out, isn't it?

"The perfect is the enemy of the good." - Voltaire

A quote from the email signature of one of the lead designers at the studio. Something that literally takes the other stance - striving towards perfection is so inherently unattainable that the quest for perfection most often leads towards mediocrity instead of something good. The project that I'm currently working on is incredibly ambitious, and to many our goal is a sort of Holy Grail. There's a reason so many other studios and teams have failed at it. So for many weeks after we started, we we killed any and every idea we could come up with if it strayed from our perfect definition of what the game should be. After all, the game we made had to stand up to our ideal vision of it. Which, not surprisingly, left us spinning our wheels, and not moving forward. Since then, we've changed our strategy and are starting to make changes, work towards our ideal, while making compromises along the way.

"It's just depressing man, I mean, if something that looks that perfect can fail, then it's like... what's the point?" - Someone over the weekend

So what's there to talk about then? It's a fine line, and there's compromise, simple as that. Right? This last weekend, I had a chance to do a lot of traveling, and a lot of visiting with people I haven't seen in a really long time. A close friend from a long time ago got engaged, and I went down to Houston to visit the family, and to go to his engagement party, where I got the chance to meet his fiance and many old friends. The next day, I flew out to Los Angeles to see a huge portion of my extended family for my grandmother's 90th birthday. Lots of catching up - on dreams in the making, new ideals, goals to strive for, new conflicts, struggles to work through, and just lives to catch up on - after all, many of those people I hadn't seen in multiple years. Enlightening, to say the least.

"I just want the fairy tale." - An old friend, a long time ago

There really aren't a lot of people that know me well. I've been blessed to have a variety of spectacular friends and family, ranging from people that I've known my entire life, to strong bonds that I've made in just a few months or years. But the list of people that really know me well is probably countable on one hand (maybe two). Underneath the (shallow as it might be) shallow exterior that comes across with bleeding elements of sarcasm, bitterness, harshness, and an insane amount of criticism towards... well, anything and everything, I'm so much more of a dreamer. I live my life (internally) up in the clouds. Hell, I often sit back and just daydream to see what kind of beautiful things my mind can come up with. I believe firmly in the ideals and good nature of people. I love expecting the best of people and who they are. I live constantly striving for ideals, for dreams, for perfection in practically everything I do. Self-admittedly to a fault.

Recently I feel like things are changing. I feel like it's harder and harder to believe in those ideals, to strive for them. I'm not sure if it's a lack of sleep, this last weekend, the last few years, or just society constantly chipping away at my shell for the last twenty six years. But something is starting to feel different. I've talked with the friends I grew up with, and we're so lucky to have a supportive and challenging upbringing that fostered building a desire to strive for the best in us. To do the best that we could in everything. Surrounded by so many people - our parents, friends, instructors, illustrating so many ideals. Ideal marriages, ideal relationships, ideal friends, ideal situations. Supportive roles constantly building belief in dreams, and a desire to follow them. It hurts so much to imagine those illustrations of ideals being torn down. It's been on my mind and scratching at my insides for the last few days. Which is strange, because I was surprised to hear Paul (one of my closest friends up here, whom I also work with), tell me Monday that I should go on more trips, because I always come back a different, more excited and energetic person. I guess strife makes me positive at work haha.

Anyways, I tend to be able to look past these things, to work past tough problems that directly challenge my core personality, and soon after wake up with a refreshed outlook - a stronger, more firm confidence in the ideal of a world of happiness for my family, friends and myself. A rebirth from the ashes of a previous struggle. But I'm not there yet. The struggles, the changes, the realizations have finally scratched the surface and taken off the shine I had on the surface of my views. So until I wake up with my rose colored glasses on again, what the hell is the polishing compound to life? Anyone have some I can borrow for a little while?

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