Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tilting at Windmills

The expression tilting at windmills or more commonly, fighting windmills, is derived from the tales of Cervantes legendary Don Quixote and his delusion filled life as a chivalric knight doing good deeds for no other reason then the glory of it and/or the love of a woman who more then likely didn’t exist. The problem was that what he fought wasn’t real and those he helped didn’t need or want it. Most notably was when he told loyal companion Sancho Panza his intent to fight those “giants” only to have Sancho point out they were not giants but simply windmills. Undaunted and unbelieving, Quixote fought the hapless windmill to a draw. Tilting at windmills has since become a euphemism for anyone fighting an imaginary enemy or fighting for something that simply doesn’t exist. While most considered Quixote a fool there is something simple, noble and brave about him and his approach to life and what is important to him.

For the past several years I’ve been tilting at windmills more then I care to admit. I let my most endearing traits (at least I hope so haha), which are also my fatal flaws, of loyalty, friendship, and love cloud my judgment and led to me fighting my own windmills. And yes, despite the efforts of many of my own personal Sancho’s, I’ve continued to believe things to be what they aren’t, never were, and likely never will be. I’ve longed and wished and hoped and tried but no amount of wishing, hoping, or positive thinking could make my delusions a reality. Things simply are what they are and it’s high time I realized this. In life, quite simply, no matter what your level of loyalty, friendship, or love, if that isn’t returned, to some above average degree, then keep lining up those windmills for us to run headlong into. I feel like the fool that most people labeled Quixote but sometimes wonder if there isn’t something noble and chivalric about the way I treat those I care about despite the hurt that comes along with these feelings often not reciprocated.

I’m not saying I won’t still hope and dream. Hell, I’m one of the biggest dreamers I know and always will be. If we didn’t dream what would be the point of dragging our sorry asses out of bed every day? What I need to do better is separate truth from fiction, delusion from reality and those that truly care for me from those only capable of caring for themselves. I have often said if you lower your expectations you’ll never be disappointed. Well, that’s cynical even for me and I don’t want to live that way any more. I need to spend more time in the “real” world and less time in the hopeful, pretend, wish-it-could-be world. Mostly I need to be a better judge of people and situations. All that said, by and large I like myself, my set of morals and values so that’s not likely to change.

My name is Rich and I’m a windmill tilter. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing but for better or worse it’s who I am.

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