“My ambition was gone. My story was over.”
After achieving his dream of living in Portland, Oregon and becoming a best-selling author with Blue Like Jazz, his ambition was gone. He woke up one day to realize that he didn’t know what he wanted anymore.
“That’s me,” I told Simon. “I don’t have a story anymore.”
“Jesus, My Father, the CIA…and Me,” Simon read aloud as he scanned the books on my bookshelf. “What’s that one?”
“That’s the one the publishing company sent me,” I told him.
“Oh yeah,” he replied. “I never understood how you took that so lightly.”
Rewind to July 2011. I had just returned from Thailand and there and was an email in my inbox. It was from Thomas Nelson Publishers…
…and no, they didn’t want to turn Living With My Parents into a book (darn!) but they did come across my blog, and they liked it. They asked if I would be interested in writing a book review for a new author, Ian Morgan Cron. I said yes. They sent me two copies (one for me and one for a giveaway), and 1.5 years later, I still haven’t done anything.
Simon pressed me about this skipped opportunity; a connection that I failed to pursue.
“Have you ever gone after anything aggressively?” he asked.
“Of course I have!” I answered, somewhat offended. My life post-university until Thailand is filled with stories of me chasing one dream after the next.
So what happened?
Like Don said, “My ambition was gone. My story was over.”
What’s a Story?
A story is about a character who wants something and overcomes conflict in order to get it. Because the want is so huge the conflict makes sense; it’s worth enduring.
When I created this blog 2.5 years ago I was wading through resistance, trying to of figure out what’s next? I had seen some pretty remarkable stories come to fruition in my life, and then there I was, at 26 years old, living with my parents. I needed to want something again. It was time to create a new ambition.
And I did. I went to Thailand for 6 months. And this wasn’t just any ambition; I fulfilled a 6 year dream of living in Bangkok and working to end child sex trafficking. And then in July 2011 I came home, and I was depressed.
If I wasn’t going to go back to Thailand then I was going to get married. That was my next ambition. And lo and behold, here I am less than 2 years later – a newly married woman.
As I recount the details of the past decade I begin to notice a trend: the things that I long for, the ambitions that I chase, and the conflicts I have overcome have all amounted to beautifully written stories. One after the next. I have a long list of fulfilled dreams.
I don’t want to live my life just letting it happen; letting others write a story for me because I don’t write one for myself. And that’s essentially what takes place when we don’t know what we want.
Suffice it to say, my ambition has returned. It’s time to get out my pen and paper and write a new story.
How about you?