Being stuck inside for months on end in 2020 has left a lot of time for thinking, often of the existential kind. As a young person, these thoughts are usually in the form of questions along the lines of: What job or career do I want? What do I want to accomplish in my life? Who am I now, and who do I want to become? And for me, because being safe in the world right now means more or less being “stuck,” a lot of this thinking feels like dreaming. The kind of dreams that are fantasized, idealized versions of things that can be used to inspire yourself.
So sitting inside, dreaming about different things I want to do, accomplish, and become once we’re out of this frozen, weird limbo period, I’ve realized how important it is to have people in your life who you admire. People to look to who impress you with how they appear to be answering and manifesting these ongoing existential questions in their own life.
Admiration is a very useful inspirational tool. You can admire someone for a lot of reasons, a job someone has, their character, how they treat other people. Or more surface level things like looks or personality. Admiration can have uglier undertones too, if it’s tied to things you yourself feel you are insufficient and lacking in. If admiration is more based in this kind of comparison it may still be motivational, but not in an inspiring kind of way. But I’m talking about pure “good” admiration, where you just look to someone and appreciate the way they’re going about living their life.
I didn’t have many adult figures to admire growing up. But as I’ve gotten older and met more people, I’ve had the luck of getting to know a few individuals who I really look up to. Not only for things like success at their job, having nice things, or their family life. But their ability to achieve those things, and also stay grounded, kind, and happy. Being able to look at someone and say “wow, I want to be like that” is so powerful. This is something I hope I continue to find in people I interact with throughout my whole life. So I guess the point of my musings is to first, give a shout out to my hanai ‘ohana for being people I admire – thank you. And second, ask you to think about someone you admire today, and if you’re feeling extra nice, let them know!