With that, I think the word inspiration can mean so many different things to everyone. According to the dictionary, Inspiration means 'something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create'. I still can't completely comprehend that people think this definition describes me in any way, shape or form. So, with that, here is what inspired me to start on my journey and what inspires me on a regular basis:
1. My parents. They have been married for almost 39 years, give everything they have to their friends and family, give back to the community in more ways than I could ever count and have never given up on me no matter how difficult of a teenager I may have been. They inspire me to be a better person.
2. My brother. Seriously, I lucked out in the big brother department. He's a pretty amazing guy. He's an incredible husband and father, gave me one of my best friends in my sister-in-law and gave me two of the most precious people in my life - my nephew Cooper and my niece Chloe. The way he lives his life on a daily basis is something that always inspires me to be a better person. In addition to all of that, he initiated my meeting with Renee' and, in turn, helped me find one of the best friends I could have ever hoped to find in life.
3. My sister. Again, seriously, I lucked out in the little sister department as well. She always makes me laugh and has been there through every single thing in my life. She is an amazing wife and mother and always puts her family first. She knew to kind of step back when I first started on this journey and let me find my own way (with some help). She was there to listen when I needed her to (throughout my life) and still is. I couldn't ask for a better best friend who's been my partner in crime for over 30 years now. And, she gave me the other most precious person in my life - my niece Emma.
4. My extended family. A lot of people probably don't know how big my family actually is. My mom is one of 6 kids and, therefore, I have many cousins, aunts and uncles who I love and admire. They are all different people who have done amazing things with their lives. My aunts and uncles have raised respectful, humble and wonderful kids who have turned into the greatest young adults ever. We are all different people pursuing different dreams and we may not see each other much but they all inspire me to keep shooting for my dreams because I've been lucky enough to watch all of them achieve their goals and dreams.
5. My grandparents. Although they are no longer physically here, all 4 of them inspire me on a daily basis. I have pictures of them both at work and at school and, whenever I wonder about something, I think about how they would react to a certain situation or question. I was lucky enough to have them all around for all of my childhood and into my adult life as well. Knowing them, their history and their values shaped me into the person I have become and made me realize I want to be just like them. My parents are the best parts of them.
6. My co-workers. They make me laugh and love my job on a daily basis. They inspire me by showing me how much fun work can be while also putting their best out there every day for the students and families we work with. It takes special people to work in the education field and I am blessed to be surrounded by people who are shining examples of why there is hope for the future.
7. Renee'. I couldn't (and probably wouldn't) have done this without her guidance, friendship and inspiration. She has taken so much time, had so much patience with me and lets me be myself. However ridiculously weird I can be at times. I am lucky enough to see how she lives her life on a regular basis, puts others first and so many more things I could never find the words to describe. She's just an amazing person and I am blessed to call her my friend.
8. My friends. There's a few of you out there who have been with me through a lot of crap over the last few years and you've never given up on me. You stuck with me through the bad times and inspired me by showing me what a real friend is. Thank you. You know who you are.
9. Anyone who can do anything that requires balancing any body part on of those big colorful balls (aka, a physioball). I hope that one day I can do just one push up while putting my hands on the sides of one. Lofty goal, I know ;)
10. And, finally, those of you who can cook. So not my thing. But, I learn every day and thanks for laughing with me along the way.
I'm sure there are a few things I've forgotten so there may be a part two to this entry at some point. But, given that it didn't take me that long to come up with these ten, I would say they are probably the most important sources of inspiration for me.
If I really have inspired you to make a change, don't wait until tomorrow. It's not something you want to put off. Because when you make changes that alter your life for the better, you'll wonder why you waited so long. But, you'll also realize that every day you've lived up until now has led you to the path you are currently on and about to embark on. The unknown can be scary. It can also be the most rewarding thing you make yourself go through. And, if you are on the right path, pretty soon it won't be scary. It will be full of rewards in so many forms I can't even list them all.
Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and thinkers, but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you even when you don't see it yourself.