This year has been difficult for so many reasons.
For me, and I’m sure for many of you, world events certainly threw a wrench in my typical summer routine. New worries, new normals and new thoughts about how we as a society continue on from here, dominated that summer space that usually belongs to seemingly more trivial, though life-affirming, things – baseball, vacation, travel, beer gardens, time with friends and family. Recently, I found myself caught in a sort of perpetual groundhog’s day – in a consistent routine, avoiding big moves and decisions in favor of waiting and watching to see what happens next.
As we moved into fall with winter on the horizon, I was prompted to reflect on what inspires me. Struggles from the summer continue. Infection rates from the pandemic continue to rise rapidly, further restricting what is traditionally a time for family. The country has been clearly reminded how deep our divisions go and just how far we must go to mend those divides. Both here and around the world, fundamental human rights are under attack. The world feels heavy. For a person who thrives on positivity, routine, planning, time with family, a full schedule and knowing what comes next, the resultant has been what feels like a distinct lack of inspiration.
What I have discovered is it is more important than ever to push myself to find my inspiration, which is right where I have always found it. It is the people around me who continue to be creative in difficult situations. It comes from watching others attack and respond to problems and adversity in a different way than I would have, being reminded that there are many paths to a solution. Inspiration comes from imagining alternate realities, scenarios and difficulties others are facing, as a reminder that my own problems are not as big as I might think and providing me with some much-needed perspective. It happens when I gather momentum on a project or escape into a good book. Inspiration comes from checking off small tasks which gives me the confidence to tackle larger ones. I cannot ignore the heavy things around me, but I must find ways to gather inspiration to face those heavy things without becoming paralyzed.
For me, inspiration rarely comes as an “aha!” moment. Rather it is an active choice that I make to recognize the work going on around me, reminding myself that my challenges are not insurmountable, and I just need to invest the time and energy into working toward my goals. Inspiration is always there – you just must be willing to look.