My Grandmother was born nearly one hundred years ago. It’s wild to think of everything her eyes have witnessed in the past ninety nine years of life. She lived through World War I & II, the Great Depression, eighteen presidents and heaps of other facets of history that leave me in awe. My Grandma Gert has walked this earth for ninety nine years. I can’t help but share some kernels of wisdom and lessons from my Grandma Gert.
It wouldn’t be fair not to share…
We celebrated my Grandmother’s ninety ninth birthday in late July. We had balloons, a cake, family, friends and a day dedicated to celebrating her. She loved it. Grandma smiled big and relished being honored and celebrated. That leads me to lesson one: Celebrate yourself. That’s right. We can hesitate or be reluctant at etching out time to celebrate a Birthday (one day out of 365 days, my friends), a promotion or some form of milestone. Embrace the mindset of celebration.
Regardless of age, taking time to allow others to give you a pat on the back, sing a song for your as you huddle around a cake aflame with candles or simply break bread in your honor holds significance. Not only is it a positive for us, it allows others to appreciate you and reflect on your meaning in their life. It feels good to have the opportunity to express how we feel about another human being who means something to us. So it’s not always about how we feel. Putting a different spin on it.
If there’s one characteristic of my grandmother that will never be forgotten is this, she bedazzled the heck out of her attire. Whether it was a shirt, shorts, shoes or a purse there were always beads, gem stones and something shimmery added to everything. Here’s the deal, my Grandmother always took pride in feeling good about how she looked and who she was. That appearance on the outside is different for each of us, but it’s SO important. Whether she was going to pick up conditioner at Walmart or was on a cruise in the Caribbean she always made an effort to look good in a way that made her feel good about herself.
When we take time (even if it’s 23.3 seconds of our day) to do what works for us with clothes, jewelry (or no jewelry) or whatever the heck it is that makes us feel good about who we are it’s a positive. It isn’t about impressing others or comparing ourselves to one another. It’s about learning to be comfortable in our own skin, express ourselves in a way that allows us to rock out the us we were born to be. Maybe that sounds silly, but I have never met another human being in my life who made an effort to look good to feel good in a way that my Grandmother has.
It’s evening wear….
My lessons in Bedazzlement continues. Years ago, I’ll never forget watching my Grandma get ready for bed. She had this super cute leopard night gown on with matching slippers. I sat on the bathroom vanity as she was looking in the mirror and I said, “Grandma, I love your pajamas.” Without hesitation she looked at me, did a full spin and said, “add a gold buckle and there you have it, evening wear!” How can that not be classic in all senses of the word?
Lessons from my Grandma Gert…
Sing like no one is watching. What will they say? What will they think? Too often we hold back to express joy or living in the moment out of fear of these two questions. Sing, dance, tap and smile like no one’s opinion matters. Because guess what? It doesn’t.
As a teenager I used to think my Grandma belting out some tune I had never heard of at the pool, in the grocery store or car was weird. May I admit even on the brink of embarrassing? It didn’t take me too long in life (thankfully) to admire this trait. My Grandmother sings in the kitchen, the shower and her bed. To sing is joy. What is it that evokes joy? What form of self expression is possibly hindered by the thought of the opinion or disapproval of others?
Find the song that aligns with your joy. Embrace it. When we no longer concern ourselves with the judgement or opinions of others it opens up new doors. We can be creative. Our ability to sing, dance, jig or whatever the heck it is that makes us smile can flourish. The lessons from my Grandma Gert are abundant. In close my eyes and hear her sing loud, proud and off-key. You go Grandma!
They don’t make them like they used to…
I’ve heard people use that sayings with cars, furniture and houses. I believe that this is applicable to my Grandmother’s generation. They truly don’t make them like they used to. My Grandma has been through a heck of a lot in life. Whether it be finances, loss of a loved one, emotional challenges, the flu or physical discomfort she rarely complains. I can count on one hand the times the woman has wallowed in her funk.
I don’t say this to be dismissive of anyone’s hurts or struggles. I say this out of admiration for a woman who made comments when needed and sought help or support when required. Statements were not made to gain attention. Comments were withheld because quite frankly, she faced it head on.
I’m not sure refraining from discomfort or frustration was always a positive. What I do know is she is one tough cookie and endured a great deal over nearly one hundred years of life. For that, I admire her. There have been moments when a complaint or a vent is on the tip of my tongue. I stop myself. I think, is this justified? How could I tackle this differently? My words are powerful. My words connect with my emotions and mindset. May I choose what comes out of my mouth carefully.
Lessons learned from my Grandma Gert…
I believe we can learn from those who have been on this earth longer than us. Not all who grow old are wise. But when we choose to connect with those capable and willing to lend wisdom, we are the better for it.
I am grateful for my Grandmother. From her bedazzled handbag to her leopard print pajamas I appreciate the woman I get to call Grandma. As I sit next to her she has fallen asleep. Her eyes are closed and I hold her hand giving her three gentle squeezes. It’s a silent, “I love you.” I’ll read this to her, but I know she will never grasp how grateful I am for all her quirks, resilience and confidence. Forever grateful.
Peace, love and Grandma’s goodness.