When I was little I remember so often hearing the scorn of my mother, telling me that I had no ambition. As she worked toward her PhD, and then did post-doctoral fellowships at Harvard and Stanford, was nominated for Who’s Who in American Woman, was part of a team nominated for a Nobel Prize in Science, I sat as a good but not great student, with no real idea of my formal scholarly ambitions.
What she never understood, though, is that my ambitions were in an entirely different direction, and perhaps far grander than any she ever imagined for me. I wanted to change the world. I wanted to make the world a better place for all of us, to help people to be happier, to be kinder to each other, to care for our planet and all of its occupants, to have love in their hearts – to have love as the focus of everything they did. And the education I wished for was whatever I could find to help me understand how to do those things. An education I never saw in school, an education I have begun to find in some incredible people I have met, each with similar lofty but often ill-understood goals.
A lofty goal for certain, one my mother never understood nor recognized, one I cannot profess to hope to ever achieve to the extent of my dreams. But nonetheless the only goal that has ever really been any part of my psyche. It is funny to me to look back on the dichotomy of at times wondering why I was even on the planet – trying hard to get past my mother’s scorn and the fear that nobody really wanted me here – but on the other hand having that grand ambition of hoping to make the world a better place.
What role in that change I can hope to play still remains to be seen, but whether it is an ambition with some futility attached, an ambition worthy of the scorn my mother attached to it, or in reality one placed in my heart by God or by the Universe as a role that I am incredibly fortunate enough to play – whatever of those it may be, it remains the ambition that best reflects who I am. Not a doctor, not a lawyer, not necessarily even a particularly good software engineer, but a world-changer in training…