4 Mind-Blowing Life Lessons From a 100-Year-Old Woman
What My Grandmother Taught Me About Life
Life Lessons From a 100-Year-Old Woman
Photo by RepentAnd SeekChristJesus on Unsplash
It was nearly 5 pm, but the sun of that month of July was relentless. A fan moved hot air across my grandmother’s bedroom as she laid silently in bed, mostly motionless; only occasionally cracking a smile or uttering a few words. Being in her presence was both calming and confusing — calming because her presence reminded me of a safe place and time in my life; confusing because I questioned what caused the body before me to be so frail and vulnerable.
On this day, my grandmother and great aunt shared their lives with me in an intimate way, and it changed my view of history. Looking back, there are many parallels that connect us all. We have the same emotions, dreams, and desires to find happiness in this world. We really are more alike than different.
The 4 Most Important Life Lesson’s I Learned From My Grandma
I had a talk with my grandmother right before she passed away. She told me that she had been keeping a journal for me to find in her will. I was absolutely stunned by this gesture, and so I was unable to thank her at the time.
Reading and going over her journal prompted me to think about her, her wisdom, and how inspiring she was to everyone who had known her.
My grandma was a huge influence on me; she taught me so much about life, love, and everything in between. I wanted to take some time to reflect on her life, share her teachings, and how they’ve shaped me into who I am today. These are my key takeouts.
1. Design Your Journey Every Step of the Way
Confident and free-spirited women like my Grandma were never taken seriously back then; being of Mexican descent meant she had to work much harder to be seen and heard. Despite that, she was a bold, kick-ass woman who never apologized for her intelligence and opinions; she stayed loyal to herself.
One of the most important things I’ve learned from her is that the road to happiness and success isn’t paved by doing what everyone else does, or accepting what someone else tells you is your path. It’s paved by doing what you love, and by discovering your own talents and passions.
Where do you start? Well…the only place to begin is with your own choices. Your own decisions. Your own vision of how things should be. Don’t settle. Find what you love, and do it. Let’s be honest, most of us up to this point in our lives, have been following someone else’s plan.
Decide that this is your life. Commit to living it.
2. Develop The Ability To Handle Discomfort
Granny never knew what a spa day was. She worked from sun up to sundown, and still managed to cook and care for her family. She worked tirelessly as a homemaker and as a farmhand at the same time. However, she never resisted, complained about, or even felt sorry for herself about her circumstances. She was fond of that old saying:
“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.”
Challenges and difficulties are part of the process of becoming a better person. They are meant to be overcome, not run away from.
Truthfully, the ability to accept and grow through times of hardship and discomfort is one of the most vital skills you can develop in life.
As my Grandma used to say: “the best things are often hard to come by, at least initially. And if you shy away from difficulty and discomfort, you may miss out on those things entirely.”
Know this: if you get really good at handling hard situations, you’ll be able to do almost anything you set your mind to.
3. Life Isn’t What You Expect — But It’s Still Pretty Damn Awesome
Throughout many years, my Grandma would spend her days thinking about what was going wrong with her life, her family’s life, and her community. She worried about not being able to find enough money to feed herself and her family. She worried about not being able to support herself or her children financially. Then, one day she decided to stop and start enjoying every day as it was supposed to be. Eventually, she realized there is no point in worrying because it gives you absolutely no control over what is going on.
Thanks to her wise words, I understood that life will inevitably unfold in the way it’s supposed to, even if you do get stressed out. It’s easy to spend every day fuming about what didn’t go as planned — and it’s just as easy to spend another year waiting for tomorrow when we will have more control, more time, or more money than we do today.
Remember: just because something didn’t go your way doesn’t mean life is terrible or that you failed. It just means you have one more experience under your belt.
So take a breath, keep your mind open and look around you — if things aren’t going the way you had originally planned, maybe there’s another way for those things to play out, and maybe it’ll be even better than you thought.
4. Life Is Only as Difficult and Complicated as You Make It
I have a tradition every day around lunchtime: I go to where I work and eat my packed lunch. I love how it feels to eat with my colleagues at the moment because it takes me away from whatever has been stressing me out.
I’m always reminded of my grandmother when I do this. She had many talents and strengths, but she might be best known for her ability to live in the present moment. She never worried about a past that no longer exists or a future that hasn’t happened yet — she spent her days fighting the battles of today. Often, she would tell me that worrying about the future would only make me less capable of dealing with whatever was about to happen.
We often find ourselves making our lives over-complicated. It starts with a vicious and imaginary negative cycle: We get into a negative mood and think about how things were better yesterday or how they’ll be better tomorrow.
And then, bam: We’ve opened Pandora’s box and the negativity has taken over.
Instead of letting yourself get caught up in a vicious cycle, try focusing on how to deal with your battles of today. Focus on this moment, because it is all there is — and it is enough.
As we grow up, we rely on self-help books, TED Talks and blog posts to teach us important life lessons. It’s true, there are some amazing people who have experienced so much and are willing to share their stories in an engaging way.
CONTRIBUTED BY Romina Aswani
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