So for the past several weeks, I've been getting incredibly down on myself about the fact that I feel like I'm living a dead-end life. I've sold out my ideals for a steady paycheck and decent benefits. I no longer travel. I no longer do design for myself. I feel like I'm not doing anything meaningful or worthwhile, to be honest. The highlight of my week is either weekends with my boyfriend (he's moved in now, btw—hooray!) or my 2-hour adult band rehearsals on Tuesdays. I've been dealing with higher than normal levels of depression, anxiety about both my present and future, and a general desire to either hide under the covers until everything changes itself or to quit my job, ditch the apartment, and just run away for several months. This isn't a new impulse for me. I've gotten it every few months since I was about 16, and no matter what I do, it always seems to be there, lurking around each shadowy corner, waiting to jump out and grab me at my weakest moments. Contentment with the routine has never been my thing, and in the past, I've never been really afraid to give into the impulse to cut bait and run when I had the option.
Lately though, I've been struggling to convince myself that maybe I should act on the impulse. That maybe it's time to jump into something new. I've always been the sort who needs a secure landing spot before I jump, though, and right now there don't seem to be any safe places to land.
At the same time, there are many women around me—women in my real life, women I know primarily through the blogosphere, women I know by reputation through friends—who continue to inspire me with their ability to make those incredible leaps, to do incredible things and to live, by turn, incredible lives. Today I'm writing a post about the women who inspire me, who motivate me, who nudge me a little closer to the proverbial precipice. I hope you can find inspiration in them, too.
Nicole is spending the next few months living out of a duffle bag. She's going to be crashing couches all over the country, experiencing new people, new places. She runs a website called HandsIn, which talks about, encourages and provides opportunities for 20-somethings to volunteer. She has ambition and goals, and she's taking steps to lead an independent and fulfilled life. So awesome.
I first found Lisa on the 20-something bloggers community. (Note: If you aren't there, you should be!) Lisa founded this incredible community which has become a fantastic resource for so many young bloggers and people involved in the online community. And she's currently in the midst of an almost 3 month trip to Kenya. And she's only 21. Holy wow.
Kim is one of the coolest friends I made in college, and I have to be honest, she kills me with her work ethic. She recently finished up her double grad degree in Journalism and Public Affairs (correct me if I'm wrong, Kim) at UT, and during this time she's worked on starting multiple companies of her own. She's built up some pretty amazing design chops, become involved in AIR-Austin (Accessibility Internet Rally) and I think won the competition twice(?), continually seems to be working ten different jobs, and right now is working part-time for two different companies, and seems to be building a career for herself that she actually enjoys. (Whoa. Who does that in their 20s?) Plus, she's always traveling to cool places and making me very jealous. I am inspired by her ability to put in the hard work required to build the life she wants.
Elyse is another friend from college, who also does amazing things...all the time. Right after she graduated from college, she biked from Austin to Alaska in the Texas 4,000 and is currently kicking ass in med school. She's one of those people who makes up her mind to do something, and always has incredible reasons for doing them, and then just does them. She doesn't require anyone else to go her way with her. She's fierce and independent, and I admire the hell out of her.
Amber is a friend of Kellen's whom I met once very briefly at a lunch in Texas when she came down from Oregon to visit. I really liked her when I met her, and when I found a link to her blog on Kellen's site, I became even more impressed. Not only is she an amazing writer, but she is a person who loves to travel and has a genuine desire to help people. Dissatisfied with her first post-college job, she recently quit and is spending the summer traveling and taking on sort of DIY self-improvement projects. She's also landed a job doing something she has a passion for—she'll be working for Girls, Inc. in the fall. The way she's really stuck by her ideals, the way she always seems to be actively seeking out the life she wants...she's very inspiring. I've been secretly reading her blog for 4 years (I finally came out of the closet a few months ago) for that very reason.
That's what I've got for now. I really hope you find these girls as amazing and impressive as I do, and that they encourage you to look for whatever it is you want from life and to be unafraid to reach for it when you find it.
Now I've got a question for you: Who inspires you?