Sometimes when people hear the name of my blog, they sort of do a “practical what?” double-take. I know of a few folks that seem to think that the “whimsy” bit doesn’t fit me very well at all. These people usually know me most through work. 🙂
In fact, I think that “Practical Whimsy” is a pretty perfect description of my outlook on many things. Merriam-Webster’s third definition of the word practical is:
3 : capable of being put to use or account : useful <he had a practical knowledge of French>
whereas whimsy is defined thusly:
2 : the quality or state of being whimsical or fanciful <the designer’s new line showed a touch of whimsy>3 : a fanciful or fantastic device, object, or creation especially in writing or art
Put them together, and you have, “A fanciful or fantastic device, object or creation capable of being put to use or be useful.” Seeking out the practically whimsical in my life – and rejoicing when I find it – is one of the things that makes me happy. Because I like things that make me smile. Don’t you?
And the parts of my personality that “practical whimsy” doesn’t cover? Well, I had a client/friend once, many
years ago, who used to call himself an “optimistic cynic”…or was it “cynical optimist”? Regardless you get the point. (As an aside, I find it fairly amusing that this former client now works in the Press Secretary’s office for the Canadian Prime Minister.) I love that description too. It seems to embody all the hopes and fears that I walk around with. But that’s probably a post for another day.
I think that “cynical optimist” (I’ve decided I like that construction better than the reverse) is rather easy to intuitively grasp, whereas “practical whimsy” might take a little explanation. I am by nature practical. I like things to have a use. But I also like things to be fun, whimsical. To rejoice in imagination and find joy in childlike things. I will forever regret that I didn’t purchase the “Where the Wild Things Are” umbrella that NPR had one year, and which I’ve never seen for sale since. (I can’t even find a picture of it to show you how awesome it is.)