Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ordinary Inspiration

What I am about to write came from a specific conversation, but the ideas apply to life as a whole. Many times, people ask authors where they come up with their stories from, or they get impressed by a storyteller's imagination.

Good writers make good stories, right?

I'm not so sure about that.

Life is what makes stories. Speakers and writers just take the time to notice them and tell them over. But I think more people should notice such things.

I was in a sort of speech class where everyone had to give a two-minute inspirational speech. We were told that we should speak as though we had two minutes to pass over some lesson or piece of inspiration to the whole world. Yet so many people's stories were about death and tragedy and hardship. This bothered me. Such stories can be extremely inspiring - and those particular ones were - but I decided I really did not want to go that route. There is what to be taken from all moments in life, and even the most ordinary thing or moment or person can be inspiring. The inspiration gained from major events, like tragedies or difficulties, shouldn't end with and be defined solely by that event. It should be then carried on into the rest of your life, like a catalyst for actually seeing the things in your life. The ordinary days in our lives are not filler in between the major events. We spend most of our lives having ordinary days. Would you really want to see most of your life as filler? Our ordinary lives have a greater significance than we give them credit for.

That's why I picked something more ordinary to speak about: a moment of ordinary friendship. I think we - general we - need to learn to actually see the things in our lives and realize their value, even - or maybe especially - the non-cataclysmic ones.

Too many people spoke that night - and too many people in general say this - about how they regret not showing a person they care before that person died or they regret not speaking to their father for five years or not resolving a fight with someone or not paying enough attention to someone, etc. etc. etc. And I really think we shouldn't wait to have those regrets. Relationships should be treated with care, respect, and love, not because you're afraid you might lose them but because you have them now. When things are really great, or just average, we should still appreciate those people in our lives who we really care about, for no reason other than that we care about them. It shouldn't always have to be the big stuff that wake us up and say, "Hello you idiot, remember you care about this person?" Why should it have to get to that point? Why do we take people for granted? We never should. Not every moment has to be heavy with inspiration, but that's just it. Inspiration doesn't have to be heavy. It's just that feeling of, "I really appreciate having this person in my life. It's making me really happy right now and that feeling of happiness is giving me a positive attitude towards life."

Sometimes, the best moments are sitting in a car with someone, or walking with someone, or just being in the same room as someone, and not saying anything, just thinking, but knowing that you're with someone you really care about, and who truly cares about you, and how it doesn't matter that you're not having a deep conversation or going anywhere exceptionally exciting or doing anything spectacularly life-changing. At a certain point, you don't need those big things in order to have truly important moments. The importance doesn't lie in what you're doing or saying. It lies in the bond you have with your family and friends, no matter what.

What I really mean is - I like to recognize those smaller moments. During the speeches that night, I didn't like how everyone seemed to juxtapose "inspiring" with "tragedy." Tragedy can lead to inspiring stories - but we can't live our lives off of tragedy or major obstacles. We have to live our lives off of our lives and the regular people in them. Because to us, those "regular people" are the most special people we know.

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