Finding Inspiration

Second semester of my first year as a Biology major ended on an uninspiring note. I was just glad to be free of my horrible classes and the pain of having to walk from the bus stop to campus in the hot sun every day. I didn’t enjoy my program one bit. But I was too afraid to change that - to take the initiative and just apply to the nursing program I so wished I had in high school.

Sometimes though, the world does you a favour and introduces you to possibility, even when you’ve told yourself that you’ve given up. For me, this played out when I was working a shift at Chapters, and was approached by a customer with her young son in tow. They asked for help locating a book and thus, this story begins.

“Alrighty, what are we looking for today?” I asked them, hoping they were looking for a suggestion.    

The mom grinned, not missing a beat. “We’re interested in your medical type books,” she said, “definitely older than what we might find in this section.”

Currently surrounded by fidget spinners and beanie boos, I led them out of IndigoKids to the non-fiction section. “What topic were you looking for?” I asked the mother. “A general medical book, or something specific?”

She knew she had me when she shrugged and nodded at her son. “The book’s actually for him.”

“Oh cool!” I was floored. Automatically, I bent down to his level and beamed up at him. To see his excitement was invigorating. “What do you want to learn about?”

“Cancer and diets,” he said with conviction, glancing up at his mother for her reassuring grin.

“He wants to cure cancer one day.” She smiled, shrugging as if she had no idea where the interest bloomed from.

“That’s amazing!” I thought back to my elementary school days where I’d gone into an old book store in downtown Windsor and asked my father to buy me an old, beautifully illustrated anatomy and physiology text. He never once said it was too old for me. Later, he would ask me questions about the book and let me be the teacher for once, and I loved the exhilaration of learning information about the human body that I could explain to him. I applied it to my everyday life with everything that I did, be it the journey of a bolus and imagining it traveling down, or fun anecdotes about the human body such as burping or yawning. I became the class’s walking biology facts book. And I loved it because it shaped the person I am today.

Thinking of all that, I knew that this little boy was in good hands. Support and encouragement are the ingredients for success. We spent the next 15 minutes looking through the section for the best book for him and he settled on a beautiful thick tome. The amazement and glee in his eyes were palpable and I realized with a sadness that I had let my spark flare out. Where had it gone? The better question was why?

I bade them good luck, and as I walked away, he called for me to “Wait!”

I turned. “Yes?”  

In what was the cutest and most inspirational thing I’ve ever seen, he pointed to a spot on the shelf of texts, in between two large books, and told me, his voice strong with determination, that in a few years, this is where his book would be when he published it.

 “Okay,” I told him, “I’ll keep an eye out for it! It’ll be on my TBR!”

And it still is.

This customer interaction was so monumental because he reminded me that a spark without the hindrance of doubt can grow into a massive force to be reckoned with. One that isn’t fazed by the path less known; a path built on passion and not societal values.

Someone once told me that we all have orbits surrounding us, and the interactions we make with others is our orbits colliding. Some people have a greater orbit, so you find yourself being pulled into their world. And likewise, you have some effect on other people.

How big does your orbit go? How many people does it expand over and reach? For the longest time ever, my orbit was caved in so much so that it barely expanded wider than my own thoughts. I didn’t let anyone in, but since I was such a small orbit, I was pulled into other orbits like a magnet. Bumping along in the human galaxy like a tiny pebble in a wave.

Luckily for me, I happened to get pulled into this young scientist’s orbit - and instead of falling into a pit of misery and regret, I accepted the inspiration and told myself that the only time it’ll be too late for me to follow my goals is when I’m six feet under.     

I took the leap and applied for the BSN program I knew my heart was urging me to aim for. All that was left to do was wait a few months and try to do the best I could with my grades, my friends, and my life. If I got rejected, so be it. I’d try again, and meanwhile, keep my head up.

A few weeks later, I received my acceptance into the program! It was exhilarating and proof that when you fail to go for something, you fail yourself.

Despite the challenges life presents, all it takes is a deep breath, a minute to collect yourself, and the knowledge to know that you are capable. Currently, my favourite quote comes from the song, The Current, by L.Marshall, in which he paraphrases Carl Jung’s cold hard truth:

“Sometimes we meet our fates

On the roads we take

to avoid them."

Things happen for a reason. According to some scientists, time is linear, meaning everything has already happened, is happening and will happen all on the same spectrum. In that sense, running away is pointless, and fear serves no purpose other to inhibit you. Evolutionarily, fear was a defense mechanism that allowed animals to escape predators and survive. Today, although we, fortunately, don’t have that particular problem, fear still serves to in a sense ‘protect’ you from disappointment and a broken heart.

Only it doesn’t. It just delays the disappointment and breaking of your heart. You can escape that pain now by giving up, but you’ll face it eventually when you are much older when circumstances have changed, and the opportunity has passed. Only then it will be much more magnified.

If you’re facing a writer’s block, or a life block, or even a roadblock, I’ll leave you here with this quote from one of my favourite movies ever!

“[Understand] that the heart scares easily. You have to trick it. However big the problem is . . .

tell your heart, ‘Pal, all is well. All is well.’

[This doesn’t solve the problem]

But you gain the courage to face it” - Rancho, 3 Idiots


Some very important references that you definitely need to check out!

L Marshall: The Current: (A.k.a, your new anthem)

3 Idiots: Hirani, R., Joshi, A. 3 Idiots, (2009). Bollywood.