Inspiration comes in many forms, often through events or signs, maybe through people or things. I found myself inspired by three different people this weekend and I would like to share my experiences. I think it's important to recognize those who inspire us and not forget the lessons we learn along the way.
My first source of inspiration was found within my mother. In her early to mid-fifties, she has taken on a completely different career. She is a zumba instructor, and I couldn't be more proud. I attended her class for the first time on Friday and couldn't stop smiling because I could see how happy she was. The other women in the class talked to me afterwards just to sing my mother's praises. An older woman came up to me to tell me my mother was a very special person and I responded, "I know." Not only is she more fit than I am, but she also exudes a confidence that I envy. She took complete control of the class and despite being completely winded and exhausted, it was the most fun I have had in a while. I was a little kid again as I beamed up at the instructor in the front and felt like shouting, "That's my mom!" The truth is that our early sources of inspiration never die; if they are strong and well founded, we rely on those people throughout our lifetimes. It is my mother who I call when I have a difficult decision to make. It is my mother I call just to cry. It is my mother that I rely on even more now than I did when I was younger. We can't let those people forget how important they are to us. We have to let them know that we remain inspired.
My second source of inspiration came in the form of my sister. Ever since we were little, she has always been the one with the plan despite my position as the eldest. I have let my path twist and turn in multiple directions as I try to figure out my life purpose in the overwhelming career world while she has traveled on the straight and narrow for years now. Saturday marked the culmination of her journey as she walked across the stage to receive her diploma dressed in cap and gown. I teared up a little as I always do at these events, but I was overcome by the feeling of pride I had for my little sister. While she is the one that is supposed to look up to me, I've always admired (and been jealous of) her certainty and confidence in her career path. Now that she has graduated, she is armed with years of internships and knowledge, ready to accomplish the goals she set before she was five years old. I am so proud of her for that. As we both search for employment, I am just beginning to figure out what path I want to step on while she will be continuing on one she has been traveling for years. Her accomplishments are enviable and I don't have to wish her success because I know it won't be long before she achieves it within the big, bad job market.
In keeping with the family theme, my third source of inspiration is my brother. On that same night, we watched him perform in his high school's spring musical. He is a phenomenal actor, and I am always cracking up at his antics onstage because he embodies his characters so effortlessly. This was the first musical in which he had a large singing role, and we were a little bit apprehensive. To be honest, I don't think any of us knew what his musical range was or if it was existent. All I have ever heard are his versions of Rihanna songs or Katy Perry's "Hot and Cold," which I was graced with on the car ride up to graduation earlier that day, so needless to say I was a little scared. During his first solo those fears were gone. As he danced and sang with everyone onstage I had no doubts that he was made for his role, despite his protests that he was just alright. Having acted in high school and college, I remember the strength and courage it took to get onstage in front of strangers. I was especially proud of him for trying something he had never done before as he sang and danced for family and friends, shamelessly exaggerating and never disappointing.
All in all, it was a long 24 hours, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. I have been aware for a long time that family is special. I enjoy a close knit bond with all of my family members, and I know this is not the case with all families. My point in all this is to remind you that inspiration comes in all forms. I try not to take my family for granted, and I owe a lot to them. They remind me, each in their own way with their own goals, that those you love and those who love you should never be forgotten. I've learned to be observant, to be open to new experiences, and in doing so I've found inspiration in many of those around me. Sometimes it's right in front of you waiting to be recognized.