I am very lucky to know some incredible people. I am even luckier to count a large number of those people among my friends, and very many of them are close friends at that. I was recently inspired on my trip to France. I was going to visit someone who has not only had to get used to living in a different place over the last year, and in a different language nevertheless, but has also been carrying out a long distance relationship and sticking to her vegetarianism – when France is known as a country it is very difficult to be a vegetarian in! This girl, as well as being a great friend, is pretty inspiring.
I know it hasn’t all been smooth, in fact quite a lot of the time it has been quite difficult. I also know that it hasn’t all been stress free. However I am so proud of and in awe of my friend for achieving what she has. Not only has she managed living in a new and foreign place, she has become a member of the community by getting involved in the local choir. She is also hugely inspiring in the way she lives life, which I mentioned briefly in a previous blog post. She has morals, and that’s not to say I don’t, but she practises what she believes. I hate the fact that deforestation is happening, that animal cruelty goes on and that the world has a long way to go before it is ‘green’ – but I have to admit I don’t do a lot about it. Therefore someone who does something as small as checking teabags are rainforest friendly before purchasing them deserves a bit of recognition. You know who you are, you know what you stand for and you carry out what you believe in. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
With this friend, I also began discussing another mutual friend who we are both a bit in awe of. If there was such a thing as superwoman, I think this girl would be her. Again, I know you worry about things and that you aren’t superwoman, but the way you handle yourself is very impressive. You do the things you say you will (especially when it involves travelling!), you always appear in control, and you always always always have time for other people. You also happen to be an incredible dancer, inspiring leader and highly intelligent. I really appreciate people who spend time observing, listening and reflecting, which is something you do so well.
I have another friend who has moved off to foreign lands this year (travel seems to be becoming a theme…). When I saw her last, she was almost a different person, yet very much the same. She had also had to adjust to living in a new place with a different culture and language. But she had blossomed incredibly as a result. I had never seen this girl look happier or more at home then she did at that moment, and from what I hear, that’s only continuing on her current adventure (another new country, language, culture etc.).
I also have friends who are inspiring for a multitude of other reasons and without wanting to be patronizing, they also make me really proud. From those who are finding themselves doing things they never would have imagined (such as booking flights to Dublin whilst a bit tipsy!) to those who are coping well with long distance relationships. From those who refuse to let a disability get in the way of any of their goals, to those who are extremely motivated and will go on to be incredible doctors. Even those who are just learning to be more honest about how they feel and when, or have made the effort to stay in touch when they have bigger things going on in their lives – you are all wonderful people.
Sometimes it can be difficult being surrounded by such a genuinely inspiring group of people. On darker days it can be tough not to compare yourself to those people. It can be easy to find yourself to be a bit of a failure in comparison. However, I wouldn’t change my friends for the world. And every now and then, one of them will surprise you by telling you that actually they really admire you. Because you make an effort to stay in touch with how people are doing (or at least try to!), or because you say you will visit and then do. It can be easy to brush these off and go on to tell the other person just how great they are, but like learning how to accept a compliment, I’m trying to learn to be gracious. I love my friends, and I love the fact that they do inspire me. It’s empowering, and even more so when they tell you they feel the same about you.