Written by Suzanne Graham

This weekend, I have been watching some of the Studio Ghibli films since they are considered classics but I never got the chance to watch them growing up. My favorite thus far has been Howl’s Moving Castle mainly because I love the message and I empathize with Howl hardcore. Even the thought of Howl’s castle being recreated for the new Studio Ghibli theme park thrills me beyond belief. But I side track because today I want to talk instead about Kiki’s Delivery Service.

For those who have not watched the movie, I will not go into any details. For those who have, however, will probably remember that one of the major themes discussed in the film is the topic of inspiration. Another movie that derives from the same theme is Pixar’s Soul when they discuss the “spark.”

Both Kiki’s Delivery Service and Soul are based heavily on the idea of careers. They both have huge ideas on where they want their life to lead and with all their handwork, it is finally handed to them but something is missing. This is something we see occur in our daily lives as well because we are all expected to work day to day. If we do not work, then we won’t have a roof over our heads, food, or heat. When we live this is mindset driving us, the joys of life escape. We feel unfulfilled and it is all due to there being more to life than just survival.

I feel as though creatives understand this struggle more than anyone else. They are told from a young age that the arts do not provide enough money and that they will end up living on the streets, which is why they should pursue a more traditional job. Yet, the creatives still choose this competitive, untraditional path. Otherwise, a part of themselves would become lost to the “mundane-ness” of a 9-5 desk job. They choose their ideals and their soul over having constant comfort.

Even though creatives are faced with this forced mindset on the daily, that does not mean that people in other careers do not also lack their “spark.” There are many scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs who feel a drive for their work too, as an example. A lot of this sense of joy and vitality starts at a young age when we all want to contribute to the things that bring us long term happiness. Our dreams keep us going as we work hard to get through school as we aim for that ultimate life vision.

Then we reach the adult world where we struggle to keep those dreams alive. The joy of what we once loved turns into something that feels more like a chore. We begin to question what it was that made us want to take this path to begin with. This is the point in our lives where we need that inspiration. This is where we need to step back and see the world with fresh eyes again. We need to see what good our actions do for others or find that one thing that touches our soul.

After seeing Kiki struggle with finding her own inspiration, it reminded me that it’s natural to get caught in the rungs of life, that even witches are not immune to such behavior. For me, it does not natural to live by the day fearing tomorrow, yet it has become engraved into our way of living. This does not mean though that we have to succumb to it forever if we do not want to. Instead, we should focus on those small moments that bring us joy. For me, it has always been the concept of magic. Art, for me, is magic brought to life and it is through that magic I am allowed to be places my small world could never imagine.

In a way, it is like one of my role models once claimed: there is more to life than just school. And even though he only mentioned school, I think this can go for work as well. Work and school are important contributors, but finding your inspiration is similar to finding your “spark” to live.

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