Our Goals, Backgrounds, and Ava Gardner

Do we want what we want because we actually want it?  Do we aspire to what we know?  Or is it an entirely different facet.  Do you we reach for what we don’t have and don’t know?

I recently read Ava Gardner’s biography, Love is Nothing by Lee Server.  I was entirely enraptured by this old time vixen.  For full disclosure, I must reveal that I hadn’t seen one of her films before I read her story.  I did watch most of her films throughout the course of reading her life story.  A native North Carolinian, she was unapologetically herself, despite any the reputation she may have garnered.  She conquered some of Hollywood’s leading men, marrying actor Mickey Rooney, musician Artie Shaw, and the infamous Frank Sinatra.  Howard Hughes fervently pursued her as well.  Last time I was in North Carolina, I decided to visit her hometown and a small museum dedicated to this vampy vixen.

Reading her story and looking at the museum, I thought a great deal about goals and why we strive for certain goals.  Ava often spoke of wanting to be a wife and stay at home mother, not unlike many other movie stars of her era.  Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn often expressed similar sentiments.  But for Ava, her lifestyle more often than not, steered her away from that goal.

I wonder why.  Is it some biological component of women to inspire to be maternal and nurturing?  Or was Ava trying to emulate her own mother whom she loved and deeply admired?  Or was she so lost in the whirlwind of Hollywood that she desperately strove for what seemed to be a solid rock and a safe haven?

The answer will probably never be clear.  Most likely, modern psychology provides an answer.  But I wouldn’t bet the farm on their answer.  I believe at some level we strive for what we know and what we perceive as success and happiness.  I believe our goals come from the backdrops of our lives.  The background of life has a dichotomous nature.  First is that which has been given to us by circumstance, that over which we have no control.  Second (and most exciting) is the background which we paint for ourselves.  The background that we splash paint on and create ourselves.

So as you go on about your life, setting goals and reaching them, always remember to add your splash of life to the background.

With love,
Sweetest Caroline

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