Inspiration is snow on the first day of spring. It’s looking outside your window as you’re cozied up in your pajamas with your favorite blanket, and seeing only two colors: the dreary grey of the sky and the somber white of the falling flakes. The snow that you once thought was beautiful, is now boring and lifeless. The naked trees, whose branches once stood tall, like they were proud they could finally shed their leaves and be free, are now starting to bend and droop–like a child would if he or she were long overdue for a nap. Inspiration is wishing you could snap your fingers and make the flowers bloom, the leaves grow, and the color return to the world.
Inspiration is seeing a child in the hospital smile. It’s watching them paint with long, fluid motions, or short, quick strokes to the paper. It’s hearing their voice, long after the doctors leave because they’re finally able to be themselves, to ignore the bad news. It’s feeling honored to be where they are as they play. And soon, instead of hospital gowns you imagine their favorite shirt; instead of IVs and machines, you imagine them pulling a wagon around the park in the sunshine. Inspiration is when they leave the hospital and don’t come back.
Inspiration is starting a new book. It’s feeling the page crinkle in your fingers as you turn it. It’s sticking your nose close and taking a big whiff. It’s rereading the same passage five times in a row because you can’t get enough, because you really want to understand, because the words were written so perfectly you wonder how anyone could be that gifted–to capture such complication so simply. It’s thinking after finishing a book in three days that you can conquer the world, because while this may be an easy feat for some, you were always the slow reader. Inspiration is being so touched by an author’s writing that you run to your computer and begin to write, in hopes that you can be a creator too.
Inspiration is seeing your significant other for the first time in months. It’s getting off the plane and basically sprinting to baggage claim. It’s when you begin to shake because you’re nervous, as if you’re meeting for the first time again. It’s being able to actually touch their face, to kiss them, to hold their hand. It’s feeling high on life, like you can accomplish all your dreams in one day, just because they’re sitting by your side. It’s fighting so passionately, you’ve lost all composure; when your cheeks are stained with mascara, your mouth dry from talking or screaming, your nose, running like a faucet, and your heart– worn out. And then it’s feeling their arms around you as you both say your apologies. Inspiration is laying in bed together on your last night, intertwined into one, feeling their breath on your hair, and you realize that you have never in your life felt so close to anyone before.
Inspiration is knowing that your hard work really does pay off. It’s receiving letters of acceptance to every graduate school you applied to. It’s feeling confident as you talk about your plans with everyone who asks. It’s sending thank you emails to the people who wrote your recommendation letters, the people who taught you things you’ll remember for the rest of your life. It’s spending months trying to make a decision about where to attend grad school. It’s feeling more confused every day, as more and more people provide their input. And it’s finally ignoring everyone else’s input because it’s your future. It’s doing what makes your heart happy, it’s going with your gut. It’s feeling so relieved it’s like you’ve dropped an extra hundred pounds of weight off your back. Inspiration is knowing that your life is headed somewhere positive.
Inspiration is making a difference. It’s providing hope to children that don’t even know what hope is. It’s asking the cashier at Target how their day was. It’s holding the door open for someone, being kind, and genuine. It’s writing a note on the receipt where you’ve just had dinner, thanking the waiter or waitress for their wonderful service. It’s finding an anonymous note on the library shelf during finals week motivating you to study. It’s telling a stranger you like their hat when you like their hat, or you’re in love with their shoes when you’re in love with their shoes. It’s supporting the people you love: when they fail, when they soar, or when they had a long day at work. It’s telling your best friends that you believe in them. It’s telling them how grateful you are for their presence and light in your life. Inspiration is being the reason someone smiles–yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Most of all, inspiration is you. If you want to feel inspired, look in a mirror. If you can find it in yourself, you can find it in your life. Nobody can tell you that you’re wrong. Because really, it can be anything. Anything at all.
Inspiration is what you make it.