For all of the vague topics I choose to thank this month, this topic is no exception. Am I referring to one person in particular? One instance of inspiration that has fueled me? Nope.
Over the course of my short existence, I have crossed the paths of many individuals who have impacted my life for the better. That have helped me look at the world from a new perspective. That have motivated me to challenge my own assumed limitations and consider a greater potential.
I have already talked about my family and friends, all of which have inspired me in countless ways. They have all molded me into the person I am today. But we all come across others who aren’t necessarily family and friends. Maybe they’re just teachers or random individuals you hear speak or famous figures, dead or alive, that touch us in an indescribable way.
I always consider my third grade teacher the best teacher I’ve ever had. The main reason for that is because her influence has stemmed much further than the standard curriculum. She radiates such a positive energy everywhere she goes and dispels wisdom that seems to speak directly to your very soul. She really focuses on each individual person she encounters and treats them each as an important, special, unique individual. I’m sounding very dramatic, but even now, I think about her and I want to lead a life that touches people in a similar way. I want to make a positive impact on others just like she did for me.
And there are others who have made similar impressions on me, summer camp counselors and teachers who connect with me and so many others beyond the surface. They are genuinely good people. It’s not like they’re dramatically different from any stranger I might pass on the street. And yet somehow they go above and beyond these expectations. They are greater than just a passing face and memory. If I face a certain difficult situation, I think about these people and wonder how they would respond, what they might say or do.
Heck, there are people I don’t even know that I just admire in general. We all have these people. Obviously I would avoid idolizing these people, but they’re the ones we learn about in history class that change the world. When we learn about these people, they become untouchable symbols of inspiration, so much that we can forget that they’re human, just like us. They are born into the same world and live their lives until they die. Obviously under different circumstances, but the actions of others that seem extraordinary and revolutionary came from people simply fulfilling their unique purposes in this world.
I think some of the most extraordinary moments are when these type of people become vulnerable. A random example off the top of my head is Kristen Bell talking about her battle with mental illness. Everyone has a unique story to tell, a share of battles to face. No matter how subtle and simple, I am blown away by the sheer ability to connect with somebody who seems so distant and relate to them, especially on a troubling issue like mental illness. When we begin to recognize our equality, that’s when the truest form of inspiration shines through.
I swear, all of these vague statements have some sort of direction. I’m here to thank these people who seem to defy odds or accomplish unimaginable feats that prove how much potential each of us possess. We don’t have to have an entry in a history textbook to reach that potential, either. I thank these people for reminding me in dark moments, which occurred very frequently this past year, that we have innate goodness. It isn’t unrealistic to remain hopeful and optimistic, even after tragedy and violence. Visionary leaders or everyday heroes, just our next-door neighbors who say or do something that touch us in indescribable ways. I am grateful for these moments that ground me, taking me away from the isolated world inside my own head and finding an outside source of inspiration. I can learn something new, consider an idea I’ve never thought of before.
I am grateful to have such great examples of ordinary people making choices and acting in ways that are so admirable. They take the life they have been given and choose to make the most of it. They have their share of flaws and make mistakes and say the wrong things sometimes, but something about them leaves behind a lasting impression.
I’ve been very vague throughout this post because the people we think of that fill these qualities are different for all of us. People touch us in different ways. I think that’s the true beauty of it. We’re all looking at the world through a different pair of lenses that might pick up on certain details others overlook. We all have different talents and perspectives and gifts and purposes that no two stories are identical. While the people I mention are inspirational, they have their own stories to write. They can serve as a muse or groundwork for ourselves, but beyond that, I am grateful for the examples they set for me to help me figure out how I can utilize my purpose in life. That’s the most that we can all do. That in of itself is inspiring.
I am grateful that every single one of us have the capability to be inspirational ourselves. Even if that’s just being a nice person and using manners. The littlest actions can make the greatest impact. I know I’m not somebody others will write books about, but I hope that I can lead a life that is admirable, one that I can say that I lived to its fullest extent. Throughout the way of making mistakes or stumbling, I still look back on the entirety of my own story and see something worth reading.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie