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.
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?