I started this week digging further into inspiration. What is it? Why are cetain people inspired more easily than others in their line of work, fitness, healthy eating, to try something new etc. I have been stuck on it because I think it is important during a time like this (even though I said in my first post I wouldn’t discuss COVID) that people do not lose sight of what inspires them. I do not in any way mean that people should not be inspired during a time like this. We are facing a worldwide pandemic, millions have lost jobs, millions are sick and thousand are dying away from their families. We are stuck inside most of our days and we have no social interaction face to face outside of our partners and/or roommates. I would expect most people to lack inspiration.
I asked the question on Instagram in a story as well as a small group of people I know in a personal conversation, what their thoughts on inspiration were. I got a whole slew of information and almost everyone had a different answer. I had 15 responses from people I do not personally know on our public Instagram page, about 20 on my personal Instagram and spoke to another 5 people individually. Referencing the above paragraph, I had 5 people tell me they couldn’t worry about being inspired during a time like this and they just wanted to keep busy through their day. They were going through the motions of working from home, or elsewhere because they had to for their families or themselves to pay the bills – they were more motivated to work to provide, not so much inspired. And as for their hobbies, they have put them on the back burner and are not necessarily looking for inspiration to get back into them now. For example, one person mentioned their passion/hobby was CrossFit and that they had no appropriate space or equipment and working out any other way is not satisfying to them, leading to sadness and zero inspiration to do anything else physically. Understandable.
I had another group of people who were inspired to work out for future events. A lot of people I know or follow are athletes/former athletes, so I was not surprised about this. A few responded who have legitimate chances at making an Olympic team. They said they lacked motivation, but were still going to work out and stay active because they were keeping their ultimate goal in mind. Watching or hearing about their teammates and/or competitors inspires them to keep going so they do not get behind. A couple people who are college coaches of Division I swimming and football programs commented they are staying active so their athletes stay active. They are inspired by their athletes and their commitment to find ways to get better, even during a time like this. Pretty powerful.
The next group of commenters were my artists 🙂 They are inspired by a variety of factors and feeling all the feels to create art, write, perform etc. They feel, though a dark time, they can either help people be distracted through their creative passions, or they can write about it to relate to how people feel. One individual stated, “Some days I am fine, some days I cry, but I always write. We have to keep writing.” I thought that was an awesome statement.
Then there was my favorite response which happened to be from my college roommate, Kristen. She said that she is inspired by strong people. People who never give up. “I get so much energy from others,” was one portion of her comment which I absolutely loved.
What I was very shocked about in completing this small study, was the lack of inspiration from others in a more worldly sense. No mention of medical workers or other essential employees. No mention, other than in a competitive sense, of being inspired by other people for their strength during this time. That is not at all a knock on anyone who responded, because I am SO beyond grateful for the people who contributed to this post. It is just an observation. Probably because the questions were geared toward what inspires YOU, what do YOU do to stay inspired etc. And, to be honest, before reading Kristen’s response, I was in the same mindset. Thinking about my running and wanted to be apart of something bigger than myself in whatever that meant for me, like I wrote about last post. I really turned a switch and reality slapped me in the face thanks to this one friend’s response. So as life is ever-changing, I am thoughtfully going to change my own answer on what inspires me.
I am inspired by friends and people I know who have been battling or who are battling cancer or other life threatening illnesses. Especially, those during this time. Going to the hospital with a compromised immune system must be really scary, combined with the terrible other health effects personally, and what wares on their families.
I am inspired by all my friends, family and others working on the front lines. Nurses, doctors, PT’s and OT’s, people working in the labs, janitors working to keep hospitals clean, and so on. The number of people working to keep our hospitals going and people safe is countless. To the elderly still working at grocery stores and other public open places, because they cannot afford not to, even though they are susceptible to this disease – I feel for them, and am inspired by their courage to keep going.
I am inspired by people like my brothers who are stuck at home with children all day while working from home, keeping their families safe, busy and loved.
I am inspired by the pregnant women working and not working for having the courage to give birth (maybe for the first time) without their families there, having their new little one in the hospital and in DR’s offices for weeks to come, staying at home without their own mothers or family members able to be by their side to help.
I am inspired by the elderly, who have been through terribly horrific times. Soldiers in WWII and Vietnam. POW’s like the millions who suffered in concentration camps. Those who have lived through other pandemics in the early 1900’s. They are survivors of all kinds of past tragedy and trauma still on this earth. They find hope. We can, too.
I am inspired by the brides and grooms to be who had wedding plans this spring and summer and needed to cancel. And yet, they carry on. Despite having made all the final touches, paying all the deposits, booking airfare and hotels. Having so much excitement for their special day for so long. How extremely difficult?
I am inspired by high school kids and college kids. They have great attitudes (at least the ones I have been in touch with) even though they are missing out on high school and college graduations, proms and fun things they should be able to experience.
I am inspired by those who remain positive. They help give me hope, even when I am not.
I am inspired by all the people staying home and social distancing to flatten the curve.
I could go on and on. I think what I am trying to say is, we can find inspiration someway somehow in those around us. Let’s tell others when they inspire us. Let’s thank the person checking us out next time we go to the store. If we need to make a DR’s visit, let’s thank the nurses and doctors who see us. If we see something someone writes or posts that makes us happy, or helps us through our day, we should let them know about it.
I think if we look to each other we can find a little spark to get us up each day and find gratitude. With gratitude we are grounded.
Stay hopeful. Stay Safe.
XX – SD
By: Sarah Dunleavy
Looking out the window
Staring only into darkness
Longing for the Sun
Needing to remember
Even on the darkest days
She will come again
*Photograph is of artwork at Hotel Del Sol, San Fransisco