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Our Achilles’ Heel

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Ambition. It’s what keeps us from sitting on the coach day after day, watching A Baby Story and eating Trader Joe’s crackers and popsicles.

Ambition. How much is too much? How much is enough?

I’ve always been an ambitious person. One of my earliest memories is from elementary school. We had the day off, for Martin Luther King Day. I remember asking my Mom, “Why does Martin Luther King get a whole day? What exactly did he do?”

Now I don’t recall her answer exactly. (I guess that could have been important.) But all I remember is feeling not quite envious, but more like a longing, a longing to have as large of an impact on people’s lives and the history of this earth to have a whole day named after me.

They might as well put my picture next to the definition of “ambition” in the dictionary.

Lately, I’ve begun to muse on this topic more and more. As a young working person, I am always thinking about my job, and how it fits into the bigger picture. What had I imagined I would be doing at this age? How are my everyday actions fitting into the larger plan?

Thanks to Facebook, it’s now incredibly easy to track the (career) paths of one’s fellow classmates, colleagues, and friends. Everyone’s life is an open (Face)book, from the gals I used to do musical theater camp alongside, to college pals I took classes with. I can track Current Employer, Education, Relationship Status, and so much more. Sense my chagrin?

I yearn for the mystery of the olden days, when I imagine I would be able to show up to my high school reunion ten years post-grad with no frickin’ clue what I would discover. When working hard and enjoying life would be prioritized ahead of tracking classmates achievements. In today’s world, I’ll show up to the reunion and it will be just like looking at Facebook on my computer the day before, only more tiring.

I have a friend who moved to Argentina to start a business. He is doing quite well, and is only twenty-five years old. Recently he told me he wants to blow the business up, open a bunch of branches, and make a ton of money, because he is ready to retire. 

What has happened to our generation?

Due to the lightning speed of everything around us, start-up companies, Blackberries, the internet, On Demand everything (except patience), we have no idea how to make our lives sustainable for the long haul. My Nana just turned ninety. Life can be long, and we are going to have to figure out a way to make it meaningful. I doubt retiring at twenty-five and sitting on a pile of money for sixty-five years is the best way.

It’s not like I have the answer to this puzzle. All I have is my ambition. But I also feel the desire to cultivate my patience, and building my life slowly might make all the difference.


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