I have a lot of ambition. It happens to be totally undirected and unfocused most of the time, but it is very much there, that yearning for something more, something better, something beyond. It’s a wish to make my own way, to create a new path for myself, and to make things better in the world along the way.
The problem with ambition, when it has no clear direction, is that it builds up and manifests as anxiety or paralysis. I don’t know what to do, so I don’t do anything. Is that better or worse than trying lots of different things? It’s safer, and it makes more sense to people who don’t know me well, but then all that deferred ambition builds up inside me until it feels like I simply must scream, or run away, or something. It gets to be too much after awhile.
Still, I’ve met plenty of people with no ambition at all. One of the jobs I’ve had was as a direct care worker in a group home. It’s very difficult work—it has its rewards, no doubt, but financial rewards cannot be counted among them. When I was leaving there, it was for an office temp job that paid $10 an hour, and my co-workers were ecstatic for me, implying in so many words that this would be all I ever needed. Um, a $10 per hour filing and typing job is not exactly career fulfillment, in my book! I know sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and there’s no shame in that, but what’s wrong with hoping and trying for more?
I think I’d rather have the unfocused ambition than no ambition at all. At least this way, I can dream, even if I have to continue trying on dreams until I find the one that fits.