This post will be a personal story about ambition, but I kinda think some of you might be dealing with the same issues.
Most of my life has been driven by ambition. From an early age, I believed that my life was meant to be lived with a purpose. I wasn’t just put here to suck air for a number of years and then become worm food. God put me here for a reason, and it was up to me to determine what her reason was.
As a young man, I had some pretty serious self-respect issues due to my yet discovered Aspie traits. Despite that, I was determined I was going to make a living using my brain, instead of my brawn. I also struggled through my early life with a serious lack of self-confidence. That was before I took a test and found that my IQ was 135 which was in the top 1% of the population. With that discovery, I finally realized that I could actually make something meaningful of my life.
Skipping forward so that I can get this story told in the 500 or so words, the last years of my corporate life were very fruitful and satisfying. I finally discovered where I belonged in the working world. (Better late than never, I say) 😎. I became a very successful software developer who was appreciated by the 300 engineers I served and especially by upper management for my money saving unique skills.
But, then I retired from the corporate world. Immediately, my well-honed skills were no longer in demand. It seems that once you get to retirement age, whatever you accomplished was then in the past and little was expected of you going forward.
Skipping forward, my wife of 35 years died after her 4th heart attack. Since there is no family to help me with life issues now, I decided to join a retirement community. I still had most of the knowledge and ability that I have always had, so I was determined to apply those skills to help make my new community a little better place for all to live. The problem is no one seemed to see the opportunities I did. After four failed attempts in making different changes, I found that, for the most part, people here just weren’t interested in what I had to offer.
It was a stark realization to finally get it through my brain that what I was so valued for in my earlier in life has no meaning now. As a result of these failures, I have few ambitions now. I am certainly thankful that I still have a pretty loyal following here on RJsCorner, but even that is eroding somewhat in the last year or so.
Maybe, my time has come, and I just don’t know it?
I have always been a “fixer” who proclaimed that we don’t have problems, instead we have opportunities to make things better. It is very hard to have to give up that mindset, but that seems necessary now.
I suppose I should just be satisfied with just my writing, picture puzzles, and TV.
7 thoughts on “Lost Ambition…”
One thing to consider is to change the focus of ambition. Like you, my career involved a belief in my abilities to solve the problems of others. For many decades all my goals were external.
For the last half dozen years, I have seen any ambition urges turn inward. After forty years of “making my mark” on others, the time had come to set goals and tackle problems that I cared about.
Ambition didn’t stop, it just changed its focus.
I will have to think about that for a while Bob. Right now, I just don’t see anything that would want to tackle in that line. After four failed attempts in my RetCom, I am pretty gun-shy to try it elsewhere.
Inward focused ambitions for me meant learning to paint, taking online typing lessons, and taking on a reading project that dealt with banned books.
I pulled back from most things that involve interacting with others and am concentrating on things that I want to do, or try to do. That approach may work for you, since your community hasn’t shown much support for your ideas.
If you can pick a solo ambition that only has to satisfy you, that might help.
You gave me some valuable things to think about, Bob. I will try to find my own list in the coming days. Thank You
How about serving others, e.g., the hearing impaired/exceptionalities program in your local school district?
Thanks for the thoughts, Rick. But, being deaf makes is very difficult to interact with school kids. I have tried it in the past with very poor results.
To be absolutely honest, I do not understand ambition. I was brought up in an environment where goals such as a career path or “purpose” in life were never discussed. Instead we were encouraged to “follow one’s heart” no matter where they lead and to share any good fortune generously. As to what following one’s heart meant, that was never defined. It was something that is unique to every person. “Success” has been largely measured in terms of relationships, whatever they may be, rather than in status, wealth, power, influence, etc.