“Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretch her fingers to touch the heavens.” ~ Lao Tzu
But what is ambition?
Is it drive? Is it motivation? Do those who don’t achieve what we call success in the worldly sense lack ambition? How does opportunity knock on some doors and not others? Why do some dreams come true and others dissolve?
How is it that some young adults know what they want while others wander through life, not finding reason? What does it mean when those who’ve grown up say they’re still deciding what to be, when they grow up?
I know life is not fair.
We all get our fair share of hurdles and challenges. And life does not pick favorites, even if it looks that way from the outside looking in. The question, “Why me?” in my experience, serves no one.
We all dream.
When young, there is more romance and more room for those dreams to be larger than life. Then with time, when we are held by duty, obligations and responsibilities, the dreams shift.
We dream of health. We dream of security. We dream of loving relationships and children who love us. We dream of keeping our health insurance and keeping our home. We never stop dreaming.
We are never too old to let go of ambition, a version of hope we meet with age.
When I graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree, I worked in a working class neighborhood dealing donuts. I learned people were smart and intuitive with or without degrees. I learned not to let my job define who I was as I tried to find value in myself. And I had dreams…
I dreamed of having children.
That did not happen. It was the one thing I knew I wanted when I was a kid. But I was terrified of marriage. I did not know how the husband would fit in but ironically, I have a loving husband and my children are my four furry cats. I never lacked ambition.
Today hope wakes me in the morning and puts me to bed at night.
Today I am living my dreams. I have a vocation as a yoga teacher that fills me every time I step into the class. I write and have a community at elephant journal where I meet other writers and learn more about my craft.
I do not believe that we’re all created equal.
I believe we all have gifts and talents. Some are better suited to a culture that values logic over intuition, business over art, education over skilled trades.
Some of us grow up in affluence and some of us don’t. But the truth is, life is not a dream. It is important to dream and hope. Ambition helps move us forward when life is hard.
Life is work and if we’re lucky we get to play at it.
If we’re lucky, we keep hope in our hearts and ambition behind our vision. If we’re lucky, we learn it’s not so much what happens in life; we’re all dealt good hands and bad hands, it’s how we play the hand we’re dealt.
If we’re lucky we find love, in friends and partners and family.
We share the dreams we have so we can live them with others where their mirroring keep us growing to help us learn what we know, and have an eye to point to what we don’t.
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Ed: Brianna Bemel