For years, I have always sought for new inspiration, new words of encouragement, new outlooks to get through moments. It wasn't too long ago that I don't always need NEW inspiration, I need to remember to come back to my original inspirations.
I was a sophomore in high school when my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my then boyfriend went through some very personal struggles. That year was monumental for me, my friends, and my family in a number of ways. It was those few months that I found one true inspiration that has never disappeared, and cheesy enough all began with a Pixar movie.
I remember being in Spanish class watching "Buscando a Nemo" (not kidding, we watched Finding Nemo in Spanish form at least once a week) for the millionth time, passing notes across the room to my best friend. We were both experiencing difficult times for one reason or another, and leaned on each other for support. I don't remember exactly what the problem was for the week, or which one of us that was having the problem in that moment. What I do remember was hearing that silly movie blabbering in Spanish and reading "Just Keep Swimming." The phrase stuck.
A year later, nearing the beginning of my senior year of high school, that same friend of mine wrote in my yearbook. She recalled several silly moments we had together, along with a multitude of difficult moments that we had gotten through with the help of each other. Near the end of her "love letter for a friend" she wrote "Remember to always follow your heart and keep on swimming." At the time it seemed like she wrote that as a fun way to remember our time passing notes back and forth just being there for one another. Looking back, it's a reminder of exactly how we managed to grow up into the women we are without sinking. We swam.
I have very few friends that I keep in touch with from my high school years, and not surprisingly, she's one of them. I remember writing a lengthy, whiny e-mail to her during my recovery of my second heart surgery and receiving a response that was not at all surprising to me. In paraphrase:
"Expectation is the root of all our heartaches. I know that's weird, but it's true. I hope that you can let some of this expectation go and learn to love the now. Learn to love what the situation has evolved into, even if it isn't ideal, what you wanted or expected. God is carrying you and Ethan right now. SWIM."
We swam. We endured, and we have managed to keep from drowning. We have entered 2012 by swimming through without looking back. We have allowed difficult currents to take us downstream quicker that have made us lose control of our stride. We hit a few rocks on the way, and discovered small pools to rest and revive. We have found moments of calm that have allowed us to regain our stroke and begin swimming again. We noticed the beauty in the small things.
I never make resolutions for the New Year. Instead I hope that I will continue to grow and learn about myself and those around me as much as I can. However it may happen, I just want to BE. I want to experience all of the excitement of the new and remember the important pieces of past at the same time. I want to look forward without forgetting where I came from.
I often find people that set expectations that are too high to meet, and find themselves struggling with disappointment. I don't think that the fear of disappointment is a reason to avoid a goal, but I do think that resolutions are about finding what you truly want out of your life. Now is always the time for a new beginning. Do you want to get healthy this year? Do you want to grow closer to God? Do you want to repair a relationship that was once meaningful? Do you want to stop a horrible habit? Instead of setting the cliche goals you hear so much about that are completely unrealistic, take a different approach this year. Search for your end result and do what you have to do to get there.
Write that letter. Make the phone call. Say the prayer. SWIM.