I won’t inspire you.

There are so many inspirational bloggers out there.  I’m not one of them.  I won’t inspire you to achieve your dreams, or be a better mom, or cook healthier meals, or lose weight, or anything else.

If you want to read inspirational quotes and messages, join Twitter.  Or Pinterest.  Don’t read me.  I’m not inspirational.  In person, I try to encourage those around me, and I’ll encourage you, too, if you like.  But inspirational isn’t me.

Even when I try to be, I’m not.  I always told my children, “If the only reason you have for not doing something is fear, you should do it.”  That sounds fairly inspirational, doesn’t it?  It wasn’t.  Not one of my children is a risk taker.

I admit, I also never told them they could be anything they wanted to be.  During the 2000 summer olympics, my eight year old son asked if he could be a gymnast.  I told him he could do it for fun, but he’d never make the olympics because of his height.  “Then I don’t want to,” he said.

See? I’m too pragmatic to be inspirational. I was also right. The boy was 6’4″ at age thirteen.

One of the inspirational ideas I’ve seen several places lately, is to find your passion by thinking back to your childhood.  What excited you then?  What did you want to do?  Be?  This is your authentic self.  This will lead you to happiness and success, following your passion.

How did I spend my childhood? Reading; riding my bike; goofing off; and daydreaming about all sorts of things, including growing up, being married, and having a family of my own. I also wanted dogs and cats.

Guess what I do now?  Read, ride my bike to the library, hang out with my family and pets, and daydream about all sorts of things, including an empty nest.  I’m happy, but that is not exactly inspirational, is it?  Unless I’ve just inspired you to get a bike or a library card.

Apparently other people had more industrious childhoods.  Were they drawn to things that would generate future income, or did they have clever manipulative inspirational parents?

Maybe I shouldn’t have let my sons run around the yard whacking each other with wooden swords and plastic light sabers.  Why did I keep buying those?  (They hit hard; none of them lasted for more than a few months.)  I could have given them ties and yellow pads and encouraged them to pretend to be lawyers, making them argue – weaponless – against each other.  I could have been the judge.

Should I have made them dress in scrubs to go to the grocery store instead of letting them wear the beloved Batman, Spiderman, and Wolverine costumes?  Instead of saying things like, “Stop shooting webs at the other shoppers,” and, “Wolverine, you’re blocking the aisle,” I could have been saying, “What do you think is wrong with that one, doctor?  Diagnose that!”

No, I couldn’t have.  It was too fun watching them play.  I loved being Batman’s mom.  I was even okay with being Darth Vader’s mom.  If one of them eventually becomes a superhero, though, I am taking all the credit.

He killed himself. This is not inspirational. It is sad.

Even though I cannot inspire anyone to greatness, if you have big dreams, I’ll do my best to encourage you.  Whether they turn into cautionary tales or success stories, I’ll listen either way.  And, if you just want to hang out with me at the library, I’m the one with the orange bike.

p.s.  I made no attempt to validate the sources of any of these quotes.  They’re all from pinterest, which is notoriously unreliable.  It is especially fun to see the same quote attributed to several sources pop up on the same page.

This Hemingway quote just disturbs me, so I had to include it.  Am I the only one who finds this depressing?

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18 thoughts on “I won’t inspire you.

  1. I’m with you on the inspirational quote thing – there are too frickin’ many all over the Internet. I’ve even blocked people on my FB page who overdose on them. I have a hard time telling people they can be anything they want to be or to follow their passion – it’s almost delusional. I’d rather tell my kids to find some compatibility between their interests and innate skills – they are more likely to enjoy what they do. But the whole notion that they should have passion for their chosen path, or to find it so young, is unrealistic. I would imagine that eventually a “Dream Job” is going to feel like work some days. Work is work. Gee, you gave me reason to vent! Or ramble…or something. 🙂

    • Yes, even if you stay interested in something, jobs are jobs. Not every day is going to be spent in passionate pursuits. Some days are memos and paperwork and cranky bosses.

  2. wow, we had identical childhoods! And it sounds like you raised your kids as I did! I still play….I haven’t grown up, so you could say I”m passionate about not growing old? lol You can’t be anything you want to be. That is delusional. It also leaves God out of the equation. I love your writing because you are so down to earth and I can say, I’m not the only one who thinks like that!

  3. I dunno – living your life as authetically Ginger as you can and inspiring others to do the same thing. Not forcing them to go off and try to fit some exterior goal list or job title.

    Have you read the “Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life”? I think you’d enjoy it. I enjoyed reading it and then coming up with my own entries.

  4. Very good post, and I agree with Mrs. Wookie. ’tis inspiring to read of someone living her life true to herself and encouraging us to do the same.

    And I’m adding the book to my book list as well.

  5. That Hemingway quote is disturbing and I feel terrible because it really made me laugh. Sometimes I get tired of living each day to the fullest and savoring every moment. Sometimes I just want to eat potato chips and watch TV.

  6. Agree on the Hemingway quote. I saw someone tweet it the other day and thought, geez – that’s a bit extreme. I can appreciate the sentiment of some inspirational quotes/ideas in very small doses, but I cannot appreciate the sentiment of plastering them all over and shouting them from the tree tops. No thank you.

    • The Hemingway one is over the top. Every time I see it, I feel compelled to say something. The ones I find absurd are all the Marilyn Monroe quotes of things she never said.

    • According to google, it is from True at First Light, A Fictional Memoir, which was not published in book form until 1999.

  7. But I don’t want you to inspire me anyway. 🙂 I’m happy to be encouraged. I let my kids dress up as super heroes all the time, because they have their whole lives to be grown ups. If it really is true that we can find our passions by looking back to our own childhoods, then don’t I owe it to my kids to give them the most amazing childhood I can?

  8. I like your voice! It is clear and authentic. This is the first post I’ve read and I will definitely be reading more. I think it is essential to find joy in just being. It sounds like you are a fun and honest mom, not one to breathe false hope and flattery. I like the quotes you used. And yes, the Hemingway one certainly is ironic.

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