When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ambition is one of the top five words I would use to describe myself. It’s right up there with goofy, intuitive, smart and observant. When I try something new, I want to do the best possible job, in part because I’m hoping to impress anyone and everyone, but mostly because I have very high expectations for myself. In many ways this quality has served me well. It’s provided direction when I would have otherwise felt lost. It’s been a real source of motivation to break away from the pack and walk to my own drumbeat, even when other people in my life didn’t understand or agree.
But my ambition has also been my personal nemesis. Since I have high expectations for myself, I tend to have them about the people in my life and inevitably that means I’m going to be let down. It means I’m predisposed towards being judgmental as well. It’s the “I can see your flaws from a mile away because I’m already picking apart my own and guess what? I’m better than you!” syndrome currently glamorized by any fill-in-the-blank reality show you can name on television. Not something I’m proud of, but it’s true.
Right now, I’m getting ready to move on to the next phase of my life. I’m making a major lifestyle change in the next two months by leaving Chicago after five years and moving to the Hudson River Valley. I’ve accepted a position at the Omega Institute for Holistic Living. I’m taking the idea of walking my talk one step further and I have no idea what the future has in store for me, but I’m excited to find out. This City Girl is moving to the country. I’m ready to breathe. I’m ready to just be without the pretense and artifice of a high-rise lifestyle to make me feel better about my life. I mean, how many handbags does one girl need? I want my life to be a heart-print, a guide of sorts for how to love every good and bad thing about yourself. I guess that still sounds like ambition, but it’s certainly a new way of acting on the impulse.