What inspires you? I was really surprised by the number of people who made a point of telling me that my post about living compassionately inspired them to help someone in need. I am so humbled by the fact that my words had an impact! It got me thinking about what inspires us.
Sitting here typing, I am hard pressed to think of something that has been truly inspirational to me lately. In my youth, I was inspired easily. Perhaps too easily. I had an entire wall in my bedroom dedicated to quotes that for one reason or another impacted my life. They were ridiculously simplistic, written on scraps of construction paper with magic markers and posted with fun-tack. The quotes included everything from funny things my friends had said (“I remember bits and pieces” ~ Bryan Yurcik; “Let’s eat dog bones.” ~ Lori DeGeorge) to some horribly written poetry that I had created myself, to song lyrics and notable quotes from famous and not-so-famous poets. All of these hung neatly arranged around a giant cardboard earth, which is about as cliche as you can get for a white, teenage girl, living in suburban America. If pushed, I might even admit that much of my terrible poetry was written under the dim purple glow of a black light!
Looking back, I can clearly see that what I was searching for was inspiration. All I really wanted back then was to be truly inspired by the world around me, and to, perhaps, inspire someone else along the way. I wanted depth and meaning in my life, both from myself and from the people around me. I wanted a cause. I wanted something to be angry about and to take a stand on. I grew up as part of Generation X, in a small, affluent upper-middle class town, where kids were generally unaware of the problems facing people beyond our town’s borders. I recall in particular, one political science class where the teacher asked all of us to say whether we were a democrat or republican. An excessively oblivious jockish fellow sitting next to me declared himself a republican. When the teacher asked him why, his response was “I dunno…because my dad is.” That about sums up the world I grew up in. Kids didn’t question things, and didn’t even know they were supposed to.
As the years go by, adolescent idealism falls by the wayside, and the rigors of day to day life take over. I’m reminded of a song lyric by Billy Joel…”I once believed in causes too. I had my pointless point of view. But Life went on no matter who was wrong or right.” Most days, I’m so busy that I hardly have time to find something inspirational, or to really try to make a difference. I work in the field of animal welfare, for a non-profit organization committed to ending animal suffering. You would think I’d be inspired on a daily basis just by the work being done all around me. But the reality is, most days I trudge along, getting my work done as needed, and then go home to care for my family. I rarely, if ever, write poetry anymore (which is probably for the best given how awful it was!). I donate to charities when our budget allows, but that doesn’t really inspire me much. So tell me, readers…what inspires you these days? What are you doing to keep yourself passionate about something, to keep your creative juices flowing, and to remind yourself to keep fighting the good fight, that there are still horrific things going on in the world around us that need to be changed? How do you motivate yourself to take action to effectuate that change? I’d love to be inspired by the people around me, so post a comment here and tell me what inspires you!