On Finally Having Arrived: The End of Ambition

Carol Osborn discusses the feeling of "having arrived."

Carol Orsborn, Ph.D. is Founder of


, the Digest of Boomer Wisdom, Inspiration and Spirituality. Dr. Orsborn, who earned her doctorate in religion from Vanderbilt University, is

the best-selling author of 21 books including her newest book: Fierce with Age: Chasing God and Squirrels in Brooklyn.

I have had a glimpse of something towards which I’ve quested all my life: the experience of “having arrived.” This preview of culmination coincides with the publication of my 21st book, Fierce with Age: Chasing God and Squirrels in Brooklyn. Despite appearances, however, the sense of having finally arrived seems entirely coincidental.

In point of fact, I always assumed that the publication of one book—let alone over 20—should have delivered to me the sense that I have achieved all that I came here to earth to do long ago. I love my books. I’m proud of them. But this sense of having arrived because of them has not proven to be the case.


As in all of our careers, there are high moments, of course, but the practical reality of one’s everyday life can turn the most glamorous-sounding occasions into opportunities for struggle. Why did the national TV show appearance have to come on the same day as my daughter’s birthday? Why are that author’s numbers higher than mine? What bad mood moved the critic to say that? And so on.

On the other side of the struggle we refer to as everyday life, however, there is the promise of culmination: the experience of having at last arrived. I envision a place of joy and peace, of fulfillment and satisfaction. I have prayed for this, meditated on it and contemplated the possibility. I always knew there would be obstacles along the way, but I did not know how hard I would need to struggle, nor how many years, for delivery on the promise of what it means to have really, truly arrived.

The struggle has been acute recently. For the past six months, I have been equally consumed by preparations for the publication of my book, and simultaneously, the ramifications of my husband’s and my decision to move from Los Angeles to Nashville. I wanted to find “our last house”--a place that would represent the fulfillment of who I have become. Not an interim house we’ll trade-up or down-size later. Rather, the place where I will be happy to spend the rest of my life.

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Carol Orsborn, Ph.D., Fierce with Age
Related Topics: Aging
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