Well it turns out I was wrong! But the good news is that while I have been on an unexpected hiatus from writing the past few weeks, I have spent time "redefining" what inspires me. Several weeks ago I posted about a friend who commented that "sometimes you need to redefine what inspires you." Since then, I have had the thought in the back of my mind and to the point where it actually woke me up tonight (hence why I finally got around to blogging!)
In any case, here are a few insights from the past few weeks.
- Time: It's amazing how refreshing it is to have TIME! What a concept. The past few years I did not allow myself to have the gift of time, and for the first time I finally gave in to what the meaning of "free time" is. I am invigorated with energy that I didn't know existed, and it is all because I have the flexibility to sleep a little more, cook a little more often, and spend time doing things I enjoy outside the normal work and class schedule.
- Music: I've always been passionate about music and concerts, but more recently I decided to take a look into the message that the artist is sending through their lyrics and music. Listening to all music is now a beautiful experience and I owe a lot of it to the song "Go Do" by Jonsi (shared by Stefanie, at the "What's the Best That Can Happen?" blog)
- Trying new things: For me, trying a new workout or athletic class gives me an energy and inspirational boost like nothing else! Being a part of the collective energy of a group that is maximizing their fitness potential is an uplifting and rewarding experience, particularly as I found during the Bike MS Pedal to the Point ride. On the topic of new things, I'd like to branch out and do something completely adventurous (we all have our "bucket lists," don't we?) But more details will come once I've decided just what that might be!
- Learning: All of my classes this semester are topics of interest to me, (which is great motivation for actually getting homework done and studying!) While I enjoy these classes, I believe that some of the best learning comes from outside of the classroom. A graduate student at Chapman randomly struck up a conversation with me one day and ended up sharing some great insight into her life: she continues to stay engaged and inspired by taking up a new hobby every few months. She said that putting energy into learning something new is the best and most effective method of teaching your brain to think and grow in new ways. I completely agree - and I think the most interesting part is that I would have never had that realization without the random ten minute conversation occurring.
- Saying YES: As it has been pointed out multiple times to me over the past few months, it is my senior year in school (which always leads to the "so-what-are-you-doing-after-graduation" conversation), but more importantly, leaves me with the realization that time is so precious. I've written about it before but I think the easiest way to reiterate the point is simply to say yes to friends, family & life! It's easy to have excuses or reasons not to do something - personally, being tired is usually the number one reason - but the time that we share and spend with each other is valuable and should not be taken for granted.
- Saying NO: I finally committed to not overwhelming myself or my schedule this semester, as I have found that it not only takes a toll on myself but those around me as well. And honestly, while the experiences that I have had are great, it's not worth it! So this year I started off on the right foot by prioritizing my schedule and allowing myself flexibility (and time) to have some down time and focus on what's important.
- Just "doing" it: It's tiring to continuously plan things that are inevitably not going to happen. A simple example: For the past three years I have told one of my good friends that I was going to visit her hometown since I'd never been there before. Somehow, we could never manage to find the time. Last weekend, although I am sure I could have easily found a million reasons why I "shouldn't" go, we picked a date and time and followed through! The result was a great day spent in good company and the realization of how important it is to just do things rather than plan for them.
- Realizing that not everyday is great: Life has ups and downs, and the most important thing we can do is support one another and stay positive through it all! While it is wishful thinking that each day will start with a bust of sunshine and all will be well, obviously things come up, but remembering that the sun is shining somewhere, and the opportunities we have for sharing positivity are great, makes for an incredible and uplifting source of inspiration.
I encourage everyone to think outside the box when it comes to inspiration. We all find ourselves in situations when it may be difficult to wake up in a good mood or be in a constant state of "happiness," but I think it is during these times that we can learn the most. Explore the world around you and you may be surprised what you find! As always, send me your thoughts & comments at TheDailyChallengeBlog@gmail.com (Note: one of these days I am going to add a Twitter account for the blog, in case you're into social media you can always tweet @ me as well!)