I often think about the way we use the words “driven” and “ambitious” in our society.
We tend to equate those words with a drive to work long hours, a drive to make large amounts of money, a drive to climb the ladder of a business or start your own, or a drive to crank out achievement-based goal after goal after goal.
I grew up in a household with an older sibling who was a straight-A student throughout childhood and then went on to college to graduate Summa Cum Laude. I partied all throughout high school, could not care less about academics, and graduated by the grace of multiple teachers who passed me out of the kindness of their hearts.
Comparatively, people would look at my sister and I together and put her in the category of the driven one; yet I think driven can mean many things. I may not be driven to reach achievements within the education system and I may not have directed my focus in life toward making a lot of money thus far, but I am driven to discover myself. I am driven to explore the world and in turn explore parts of myself that the world teaches me.
I am driven to sift through every piece of my insides with curiosity and an open heart. I am driven to stand on top of mountains and swim deep into the ocean. I am driven to pull over so I don’t miss the sunset even if that maybe makes me a little late to my plans, and I am driven to write poetry under the wisdom of the trees.
I am driven to move slow enough so that I never miss the small treasures, the beauty that often goes unnoticed in the fast pace of our world. I am driven to challenge that fast pace.
I am driven to get eight hours of sleep and have space in the morning to meditate. I am driven to take my time with my morning coffee, to take so much time that my morning coffee becomes a prayer of its own—to light candles and put on my favorite playlist and sip it slowly while snow falls outside the window.
I am driven to grow a garden where I can cook food for my family straight from our own patch of earth. I am driven to nourish my body by spending time in nature and time on my yoga mat, and I am driven to take multiple days to reply to emails because I was out of cell service deep into the backcountry. I am driven to see each progression of the colors changing in the fall as the leaves turn yellow and burnt orange and then crimson and brown. I am driven to watch wildflowers bloom in the quiet of morning light and find parts of myself in their delicacy.
I am driven to love—wildly, fiercely, softly. To keep cracking my heart open over sunrises and sunsets and falling in love with new humans wherever I go. I am driven to come alive under moonlight and let the art of stories change me. I am driven to spend time in warmth with loved ones and maybe even call out sick from work on days when nothing but their warmth will make me feel okay.
I am driven to believe in the magic of this world over and over again no matter how many times it knocks me on my feet.
I am driven to live fully and completely. To drink in heartbreak and grief as it is medicine and to allow the joy of the sun after a snowstorm remind me that the pendulum will continue to swing, that life will continue to move forward.
I am driven to experience every facet of what it means to have a beating heart and pulse and feet on the earth during my fleeting time on this planet.