Inspiration. It is something I have been thinking a lot about recently. Being stuck in quarantine has given me time to really think about that word and what it means to me. In my opinion, to be inspired you have to be motivated, which is hard for all of us right now who are not on regular schedules.
In grad school, I was studying Leisure Studies, which basically takes a look at why people do what they do with their free time. Some people bake, some watch TV, some workout, some read and the list goes on and on. Sure, this could all relate to some sociological theory of where you grew up and who you grew up around. For example, if you grew up in a family of musicians, it is likely that you will either play music at some point of your life and/or be educated about it. For me, I was an athlete, because my parents played sports, my brothers played sports and we were all pretty decent. It was just what we did.
At the same time, there are ebbs and flows. Days we are less motivated than others. Less inspired than others. Days you are ready to go to work, and days you would rather be doing anything else. I go months where I run and workout everyday. Then one day, I just decide I don’t want to anymore and I am less active and more social, or more into reading, or writing or whatever it is.
So why some days am I motivated to run, keep my paces, track my mileage, run in races? With that, I even get in my head crazy ideas like training full time and trying to qualify for this or that. So why does it just stop at some point?
Probably because I know realistically what it takes to be that level of athlete, and I have decided I like to be social, travel, drink wine and not be stuck to the ridged type A lifestyle of being a marathon runner. Yet, in a couple days, I will wake up and have that thought. The thought of commitment to something bigger than myself.
And there it is.
A commitment to something bigger than yourself.
I coached college swimming for 8 years and decided that I was going to walk away. Why? A lot of reasons, but mainly I wanted weekends and to travel, to see my fiancee on a mostly daily basis and have dinner together each night. I have been around a pool since I was 4 years old. I was able to climb up the coaching ladder pretty quickly and by 27 years old I was working at Cal with one of the best programs in the country, along side one of the best coaches in the world. It was all awesome. I worked with Olympians, we broke American records, NCAA records, we had a lot of fun and worked really hard. Swimming was all I knew and when I looked ahead 20 years, I wasn’t sure I would be content still doing what I was doing, never having done anything else.
So here I am, 10 months into a new chapter of life. It has been wonderful to be alongside my partner and best friend everyday, I am doing things like writing that I haven’t been able to do in years. We go away on weekends to they city or the mountains, or wherever we want to go. I don’t wake up before 7 am, which is AMAZING. I haven’t quite found a new calling yet, but I am happy. I have more energy, I eat out less (meets and being on the road all the time = terrible diet). Overall, it is really good. The thing I do miss about coaching, more than anything, is the commitment. Being a coach you are committed to the university, a team full of 30-60 talented athletes, the tradition of the team’s success and values. You are working right along side each athlete every day, most weeks 6 days out of 7. And when the team comes together and does something special, there is no better feeling. It is indescribable. It was the same as when I swam myself.
So with that, it is my mission to find something in life where I have that commitment again. I do not know what that is yet, but it is out there, and as Shakespeare states, the world is our oyster.
I guess what I am saying is, it is okay to lack motivation and inspiration some days, but find your “why” and you will be deeply motivated and inspired. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. It is okay if you haven’t yet. Finding it is a journey.
Do not be afraid to take risks. Do not care what other people think about your choices. Be brave. Start something new. Do something you love. Do it big and grand and do not be afraid to fail or fall. It is part of the process.
And here is the poem I chose for this week’s post, because I find that we are like the waves, if we want to be.
Waves of the ocean
Most magnificent dancers
No fear of falling
Only to rise again
XX – SD