Finding inspiration while running on the hamster wheel of life – going from one task to the next, always in a rush, never with enough time to stop and see all of the amazing things happening around the world – is tough.
Or is it?
Maybe we are just looking in the wrong places. Maybe we don’t need TEDTalks, Instagram, and Anderson Cooper to find the energy and hope we are seeking. Because really, the greatest place to find inspiration is in the brilliance, creativity, and generosity of our friends. When I take the time to look, I find that I am utterly surrounded by awesomeness. For example…
One girlfriend of mine started an organization to raise the self-confidence of girls so that they are empowered to fulfill their potential and achieve their dreams.
One girlfriend played a huge role in organizing A Concert for Charlottesville, an incredible night of music, unity, and healing in response to the violent protests that occurred there in August.
Several of my girlfriends are volunteering on non-profit boards and giving hours and hours of their time to build stronger communities.
One girlfriend has turned her love of cooking into a successful career in restaurants, TV, cookbooks, and stellar food.
One girlfriend just ran her gazillionth marathon while another rocked an Ironman!
A few girlfriends have gone back to school in their 30’s and 40’s to pursue higher degrees and new careers.
One friend came to the US as a nanny, studied part-time at a community college, transferred to a highly respected university, graduated at the top of her class, and now advocates for smart, progressive international development policy.
One girlfriend has spent the last two-plus decades fighting for environmental policies that protect our most valuable natural resources.
One girlfriend has given up full retirement to help her daughter fulfill her dream of running a successful business that gives back. (Thanks Mom.)
Several girlfriends have made travel and seeing the world their life’s work and won’t stop flying, training, busing, and trekking until they have seen it all.
Many of my girlfriends have stepped up to take on the responsibility of caring for a loved one when sickness hits or a parent passes.
Several girlfriends stayed strong and resolute in the face of fertility challenges and brought beautiful, healthy, loving children into the world.
Many of my girlfriends have “leaned in,” taking leadership roles in the male-dominated corporate world whether it be in media, consumer products, education, or law, all while maintaining healthy relationships and raising fantastic kids.
Several of my girlfriends have abandoned the corporate world and gone out on their own, armed with a great idea and a whole lot of courage.
All of my girlfriends are giving everything they have to ensure the health and happiness of the next generation -- their daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, cousins, grandkids, friends, and neighbors. As we all know, it always has and always will take a village.
Perhaps most important, all of my girlfriends have found strength and joy in supporting, encouraging, and celebrating other women, not tearing them down.
Inspiration is everywhere but inspiration is also very local. We don’t need to look to the headlines to find women who are making a difference. The inspiration is here amongst these lifelong friendships that we all hold so dear.
2017 was a year of extraordinary challenges, to put it mildly. Looking back and surveying the damage leaves you queasy and certainly questioning whether this is a hole without a bottom. From the senseless violence in Las Vegas to the hatred in Charlottesville to the state-mandated discrimination at the airports to the collapse of American leadership in the fight to save our planet to the abandonment of Puerto Rican citizens in their time of need to the attack on transgender members of the military to the pathetic sparring of two nuclear-armed frontal-lobe-deficient adolescents should be enough to make anyone start drinking heavily to numb the pain. Then you add Mother Nature’s fury in the form of wildfires, hurricanes, and earthquakes and one really wonders if this is actually the beginning of the end.
I have certainly found 2017 to be brutal, disheartening, and relentless in its continuous blows against all that I value as a woman, a mom, an American, and a member of humanity.
BUT it has also been a year of amazing accomplishments, resistance, and hope. The lows of 2017 were really, really low but wow, were the highs high!
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