(Lack of) Ambition

I came across this article this afternoon and read it while I was at work.  Yeah, see – I was at work reading news articles that have nothing to do with my job but everything to do with why I work where I work. 

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1126746,00.html

Take about 10 minutes to read this. 

(Jeopardy! theme playing in the background…doo, doo, doo, doodoo, doo, doo, doooooo)

As my daughter would say, this article kind of blew me out of my clothes! (She just came up with that line tonight as she asked me to prepare myself for the awesomeness of a Straight A report card.  And boy, was she right – it blew me right out of my clothes!)

Anyway, my favorite part is, “For every person consumed with the need to achieve, there’s someone content to accept whatever life brings.”   That’s me.  That’s alot of us.  That’s alot of us who are tired of being accused of being lazy or lacking the drive to succeed.  Because I don’t really believe it’s a lack of desire to succeed.  At least in my case, it’s a lack of desire to attain the $400,000 house, the Lexus, the private school education for the kid, and throw what makes me happy to the curb in order to collect this material wealth of crap that will eventually be foreclosed on once I realize how unhappy I really am and decide to sit around mumbling incoherently to myself while reading books about US history and learning how burnout affects the psyche of single moms who forget what their own kid looks like.

Really, it’s better that I don’t try to do that.  For all of us.

I’m quite content.  I don’t need a big house.  I don’t need a top of the line car.  My child goes to public school and excels in her studies and sees me working hard to earn my college degree, too.  She sees me happily writing away or watching Travel Channel or gazing at my postcard collection, longingly wishing I could be there and not here, though here isn’t so bad, after all.  I have always refused to be bothered excessively by phone calls from work on my day off or even when I’m not on the clock.  I’m one of those people…the 5 o’clocker.  I punch in and I punch out. 

I’ve done the whole management thing.  I wasn’t very good at it.  Though, 10 years later, I think I’d be much better prepared for it now.  My training was nonexistent and I inherited a staff who still viewed me as their peer, not their supervisor.  I pulled it off for a year by telling myself that a management position would look great on my resume.  After 365 days, I stepped down and went back to a lower level position.  I was much happier.  And I suspect everyone else was, too.  Ironically enough, I’m busting my hump for the next 2 years working on a Bachelor’s degree in Supervision and Management.  Full-time single mom, full-time job, full-time college student.  Once I get this degree, I plan on getting another.  Yep, another degree!  That coming from someone who is quite content to make enough money to pay the bills (once the legal debt starts winding down, I’ll be a much happier camper).  Don’t tell me I have no ambition because I can’t afford to eat out every week.  Don’t tell me I have no ambition because I can’t afford to pay rent on a place of my own.  Don’t tell me I have no ambition after I’ve worked a full day on 3 hours sleep and won’t get to rest again until the hours of 1am-5:30am when it’s time to wake up and do it all over again. 

So you have more energy than me?  Big whoop.  Can you really do what I do?

So, this whole ambition thing.  My belief is that we are all given the means to develop a passion for something.  Some love to cook, some love to garden, some love to play with numbers, some love to play with words, some love to gaze at postcards and imagine the couldabeens of a fabulous vacation that never happened.  Just because one person’s passion pays less or requires less of their time in the office doesn’t mean they’re not ambitious.  It simply means they have a different passion, a different need to be successful, a different kind of ambition.  We are all programmed to want to achieve something, I believe.  Some have the life plan, others have a 5-year plan.  Some, like me, say Whatever happens, happens.  However, my goals are just to get through the next few months with my sanity intact.  Yours may be, oh…I dunno, on the spectrum of getting your oil changed (finally!) or passing the bar exam.  Mine fit somewhere in between.  But I am able to accept whatever life gives me.

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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