What drives me? Well, I used to have an exact answer: ambition.
I had a dream, I had a plan to achieve it, and I had confidence in that plan. I mean, what was to stop me? I was young, energetic, smart, and I had it all figured out.
I even had it written down. The plan for my whole life dumbed down to a simple little checklist of obstacles and milestones. The first step was graduation. Easy peezy.
Shortly afterwards, I discovered several other roadblocks that I hadn’t quite taken into consideration. And then shortly after that, I found that some of those roadblocks were going to take longer than expected to cross off the list.
Years later, if you asked what drove me, I probably wouldn’t have said ‘ambition’ anymore. I don’t really know what it became at that point. Hope? Stubbornness? Blind faith in the possibility that maybe if I stuck to my guns and kept on keeping on, everything would work out just fine? Maybe it was still ambition, but not with the same confidence. Like the final pleas of that young, starry-eyed dreamer in me that always chanted ‘you can do it’ into my ear.
Sometimes, like on a bad day, I wish that I could go back and smack some sense into that kid. Grab him and yell the truth into his face. Spit out every harsh bit of knowledge I’ve got until he understands that he’s not special, the world’s got no reason to take notice of him, and his dreams aren’t coming true.
Now wouldn’t that be something? Old meets new. Maybe things would have been different if that kid knew the world like I do now. Or maybe the kid would talk back. Maybe I’ve got things backwards, and I’ve just forgotten something that he knew…
One way or another, I don’t see things turning around anytime soon. I’m tired now. I’m running on fumes, and I have been for years. The best thing I have to look forward to is the opportunity to recharge myself for the next daily grind.
It’s not ambition that drives me anymore. It’s not hope or any of that garbage. I guess for lack of better words, it’s fear.
I don’t see things getting better, but I can always see them getting worse. I can clearly imagine what will happen if I say ‘no more’ and stop crawling out of bed in the morning. Yeah, it’s cynical, but that fear of a downturn; that desire to hold onto what little I have now, that’s what drives me.
It’s not much, but it’s done the trick for a long time now. Maybe it always will. Honestly, I’m counting on it, because I don’t know what else there will be if I finally lose what drives me.