Monday, June 25, 2007

Ambitions

Written by Liz from Spoonfed

“I want to be a mom.”

“Come again?” I said. I put my one year old down and adjusted the phone.

“I’ve done more in my career than I ever dreamed of,” my friend said. “It’s hard right now to be excited about the next step, whatever that might be. I just want to start a family.”

My friend is in her early thirties, a very successful environmental consultant, and single.

She’s worked for some of the biggest brands in the world, helping them to conduct their business better – better for the environment, better for the citizens of the world. We met in San Francisco nearly ten years ago. We were young, ambitious, and wild with the entrepreneurial spirit that overtook San Francisco during the dot-com boom. In our mid-twenties, we had jobs with more responsibility than people our parents’ age. Job experience was more of an “into the frying pan” philosophy.

And then the tech bubble burst. September 11th happened. A hot wind came through San Francisco, and everything dried up. All of us transplants were blown away, to the corners of the country from which we’d come.

My husband hears the stories of the dot-com days, and he marvels that I ever left. Thank goodness I did, or we would never have met. But it got me thinking about how one seemingly small decision has a chain reaction, and where I’d be if I hadn’t made it.

It all hinges, really, on that September of 2001. If I hadn’t left San Francisco, I wouldn’t have been jobless, in Montana on 9/11. I wouldn’t have had to move back to Colorado. I wouldn’t have gone white-water rafting, and I wouldn’t have met my future husband on the banks of the Arkansas River. I wouldn’t have fallen in love, and I wouldn’t have my son.

I, like my friend, feel remarkably satisfied with my past career. I’m a mom, first and foremost. I’m in the position to work when and where I want, to pick up projects I want to work on, or not. Most of the time, it’s not.

Have I lost my ambition, my creativity? It’s a thought that sometimes keeps me up at night. Is that just what happens when you’re a mom?

Not necessarily. I have other friends who love their jobs, crave the adult time, away from kids.

Is it Colorado? There’s no denying that the Colorado lifestyle takes precedence over work – that’s why people move here.

I’ve heard it said that great art does not come from places where the natural beauty is greater than what man can make. So the same, perhaps, for ambition. It’s hard to be ambitious when you are surrounded by natural beauty, and a little one. Best to just take it day by day, and be grateful for the mountains and the sunshine, the walk to the park, grass under your bare feet, and dinner to be made at home.

Liz Easterly lives in Denver with her husband, one year old son and black lab. Among other things, she writes about how ridiculously happy she is to be a mom at Spoonfed.

4 comments:

Surviving Motherhood said...

I know what you mean. Having moved somewhere very beautiful and gotten pregnant not long after I have very little work ambition left.

I still crave 'adult time' but not in a work environment.

Desert Songbird said...

I concur 100%. Living in the desert southwest has made me more relaxed and less stressed about "what I want to be when I grow up." It took me a while to admit that, but being a mom has been so much more rewarding than I first imagined, and definitely more exciting than I perceived when I was an ambitious corporate drone.

feener said...

the dotcom was an amazing time to have lived through and fully enjoyed it. wonderful stories to share with your kids !!

Mama Zen said...

Sounds like a beautiful place and a beautiful life.

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