I hadn’t realised it was Dying Matters Awareness week from 12th – 18th May, until I read an article on Love Belfast.
They reported on the findings of a poll by Marie Curie about what ambitions people in Northern Ireland have. A bucket list if you will… I thought the results were quite interesting! It would appear that I share many of the same dreams and ideals as everyone else.
I could have written this list myself! Apart from number 9, skydiving. Once upon a time this was on my list, however impending middle age has brought with it a new respect for life, or perhaps it is more a fear of death, and an awareness of my responsibilities. Either way I no longer desire to jump out of a plane from a great height, although I am sure it is probably just as safe as crossing the road!
It made me wonder how long do you have to want something, before it becomes one of ‘life’s ambitions’. Ten years ago I would have said jumping out of a plane and getting a tattoo of Tweety Pie were high on my list. However, obviously I was just, ‘going through a wee phase’ and now have no desire for either – perhaps just as well!
Also, can you really call something a life ambition if you don’t actually do anything about it? Since discovering Enid Blyton, many many years ago, I have loved to read and imagined writing my own novel some day. I have many excuses as to why I haven’t. Lack of creativity, lack of skill, lack of time…. they are just excuses though. Particularly since my ambition does not extend to becoming an acclaimed writer. Just simply to start and finish one book. Just one! I have started many, yet never get further than a few chapters. Perhaps I should just forget about it…yet it is always there… this ‘ambition’ has never went away.
I’m not complaining though. Seeing this list has made me realise how lucky I am. I have done the first three, travelled, lived abroad and had my children. I would also say I’m living number four. Right now I am pretty happy with where my life is, and the direction in which it is headed. (You never know, if I’m working my way down the list perhaps that means number five, winning the lottery, is next for me! I’ll buy a ticket just in case!)
I guess I have come to the conclusion life ambitions, and life goals (or bucket list items) are different. A life goal is something you want to do, have wanted to do for a long time, or are working towards. A life ambition is something that makes you unhappy if you aren’t at least striving towards it. Constant and all consuming, it takes precedence over all others!
So perhaps I really only have one ambition left. For me and my family to be happy and healthy. Of course this is not something that can be achieved and ticked off the list. It requires maintenance, an ongoing project that I will always strive towards.
On the other hand, I hope to never fulfil my list of life goals. As I tick one off, I hope to add another one in it’s place. My goals may change over time, they may have to be adapted to become realistic, or I may just change my mind.
I guess for me, although life may be ‘a box of chocolates’, I like to think of it more as a sandwich!
Ambition is my bread and butter, and my goals are the fillings. I hope they continue to be varied, full of flavour and satisfying!