The Art of Being Impractical

I’m very good at the impractical stuff.  Creative writing, imagination, that kind of stuff.  My friend told me this at lunch one day, in a conversation about majors.  He’s an economics major.  He likes his classes okay.  More importantly, it’s very likely that he will find himself a safe job.   It could even be a job he loves, though I’m not sure he cares particularly about that distinction. 

I’m not knocking economics, or engineering or pre-med or anything else that is practical.  Especially since no matter what our major or plans for the future, every one of us has to work hard.  Even me, a film major who may minor in creative writing.  And I’d love to know that I’ll have a steady job in a certain amount of years, rather than bouncing around bringing different people coffee, hoping that one of them will give me my big break.

My problem with the word impractical is, with all its negative connotation, being applied to what I have chosen to do with my life.  Not because I’m personally insulted.  It has more to do with the whole idea of practical vs. impractical, or technical vs. creative, or any other way of categorizing our choices.  By creating such strict categories we automatically limit our choices.  Because here’s what our schools, or parents, are career tests aren’t necessarily teaching us: the options are so much more diverse than we think.  Personally, I’m not completely sure that I’ll end up a successful television writer.  It’s been my dream for a couple of years.  Before that I wanted to write novels, or maybe publish them.  Sometimes I think I want to try to join a creative agency so that I get to appreciate the work of countless other dreamers, some who may at this point have no idea what they want.  I think the thing that makes me seem impractical in my friend’s eyes is that a lot of my goals for the future involve placing myself in an environment and seeing what hard work can get me.  But honestly, getting coffee for a few years while watching geniuses at work sounds good to me.  I’d rather be my impractical self than anyone else. 

Written by: Katherine Foley