Feeling inspired and knowing that you have exciting things ahead of you because you’re going to make them happen for yourself, is possibly one of the greatest, most gratifying feelings. I’ve been in and out of ruts for about the past eight months, trying to figure out my purpose and what I want my life to look like. I’ve felt inspired to do anything and everything my heart desires, and have learned that those dreams can actually come true if I run after them. I’ve also felt dreadful and useless and so completely confused as to what I’m meant to give to the world. I’ve wanted to jump into the unknown and hope that it turns out amazing, and I’ve wanted to do what’s easy and comfortable. The real trouble came when I realized I wanted all of these things at the same time.
Over this time, while in moments I’ve felt like I’m getting nowhere and making no progress in getting where I want to go, it just so turns out that through my many ups and downs, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.
1. Stop waiting to be happy.
Don’t let yourself get so caught up in your “dream life” that you overlook the wonderful things that are happening in each moment along the way. I’m guilty of this every now and then, but it wasn’t until my mom gave me this advice one day over a phone call, which was mostly just me ugly-crying through the phone and blubbering something about how I was re-thinking my entire life and was confused af (so the usual). It’s times like these that I’m reminded that my mom knows me better than I used to ever want to admit, because she somehow knew what I needed to hear even when I didn’t.
Those who tell themselves “I’ll be happy when I get this job” or “I’ll be happy once I lose the last ten pounds” may never end up reaching their end goal of “happiness”. Fate might not want you to get that job because it has something better in store for you. You might try and try to lose those ten pounds, but hey, not everyone is made to have that body you want, and maybe you’d be happier if you ate the cake in the staff room once in awhile anyway. Instead of focusing on your dream life so much that you begin to resent the life you already have, try to appreciate the little things that happen each day, while planning for baby steps that can help you move in the right direction.
- Find people who inspire you and hold onto them for dear life.
There are very few things in life that will fill your heart more than a good conversation with a friend who inspires and encourages you. I would trade any messy drunken night where I’ve lost my friends within ten minutes of getting to the club for a movie night, wine night, or coffee date with a good friend and good conversation. As I’ve grown as a person, I’ve come to realize how valuable good, genuine friends who believe in you are. The ones who you aren’t afraid to tell your biggest dreams to, and when you do, they respond with nothing but words of encouragement. Sometimes all it takes to sort out your confusion is to sit down and spill your guts to someone who understands what you’re going through. I’m SO lucky because I have a few of these people in my life, and I can’t express my gratitude for each of them enough. They listen to my ups and downs and constant changes of heart without judgement, but aren’t afraid to tell me when they can see that I’m not being true to myself. If you’re lucky enough to even find one of these people, don’t you ever let them go.
- Make time for things that make you feel happy and inspired.
Make yourself your biggest priority. We all get busy with life, and get caught up in deadlines, work, and plans that we really wish we hadn’t made, that we run out of time for ourselves. Make time for things that recharge and inspire you, because really, aren’t those things what life is supposed to be about? Where’s the fun in waking up when you’re old and realizing you forgot to have fun or you “didn’t have time”? Living an amazingly happy life isn’t a luxury for the rich and successful people of the world – it’s a luxury for those who make an effort to create a life that they’re excited and passionate about. So if you ask me, making time for things that make you happy is a pretty big one. Like for example, right now I’m making time to write this post because it makes me happy and writing an essay does not.
- Stop putting so much pressure on yourself.
From the time you hit your last couple years of high school, every 5 seconds you’re hit with questions about what your life plans are. How the eff is a seventeen-year-old supposed to know what they want to spend the rest of their life doing?? They haven’t even gotten the chance to learn what life feels like when they don’t have to ask their mom if they can go out on a Friday night. And if you do choose to go to college or university, this doesn’t stop. It just becomes “So what are you planning on doing with your degree?” “When are you going to get a boyfriend?” “When are you guys getting married and having babies?” The questions never end, and it can be so unbelievably defeating at times when you find yourself never knowing the answers. But I’ve learned that not that many people actually know what they’re doing with their life. They’re just taking things as they come. Baby steps are okay. As long as you’re moving forward, the direction doesn’t always matter. All you can do is your best. Let yourself get inspired by the smallest things if that’s all you can find at the moment. Don’t put so much pressure on having all of your dreams and goals figured out already.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the pressure of getting somewhere amazing as fast as you can, before you waste your life away. It’s important not to stress out so much, because you end up ignoring the things happening right now that are contributing to your story and your journey. Surround yourself with people who inspire you, and try to inspire them back. Find the ones who get you, and sit with them in a bathroom stall at the bar for 45 minutes over a drunken conversation about life’s big questions and your biggest dreams. It just might give you all of the clarity you’ve been looking for. Or maybe that just worked for me. I don’t know.
Use your head, but follow your heart in everything you do, and you will never run out of inspiration.