10 Life Lessons My Grandmother Taught Me

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a visit with great grandma
Image by Ed from Ohio via Flickr

This is a tribute to my dear grandmother who passed away last Thursday, February 4th, at the age of 91. She was an amazing woman who made this world a better place during her time here.

My grandmother never verbally gave me any advice on life, but instead she provided a living example through the way she lived her own life. I’d like to share with you what I learned from her.

1. Speak Your Mind

My grandmother was never shy about speaking her mind. She would be quick to let you know if she was tired, hungry, thirsty, bored, or if she didn’t like something. I really appreciated that about her. I think that to many people waste time by being afraid to say what they’re thinking.

Just imagine if we all spoke our minds.

  • No more trying to guess what’s wrong when someone is visibly upset. We could get straight to trying to solve the problem instead.
  • We could get to know people for who they really are instead of the false fronts that so many people put on.
  • We would know that the people who love us, love us for who we really are.

I think this would be a huge time and energy saver for everyone.

2. Exercise Every Day

Up until about the age of 89, my grandmother exercised every day. When she was younger she would be working on the farm that she lived on, and after she retired, she started walking 5 or more kilometers every day.

It didn’t matter if it was hot, cold, raining, or snowing, nothing stopped my grandmother from getting out for her daily exercise. For her, exercising wasn’t a should do, but a must do.

Regular exercise kept my grandmother strong and healthy. She was rarely ever sick, and she was never hospitalized for anything (except for a hip operation) until she was in the final year of her life.

3. Family is Important

What really matters the most at the end of your life is the relationships you’ve had. I’ve seen many interviews where successful people are asked what they would do differently if they got a chance to do it all over again. Almost every single one of them reply that they would spend more time with their families. They all seemed to realize that while success and accumlating money and things might be nice, it should never be done at the expense of your relationships with family and friends.

I think my grandmother understood this. Hardly a day went by that she didn’t spend at least some time with family. Sometimes her frequent requests for a visit seemed a bit frustrating, but now that she’s gone, I think our whole family really appreciates all the time that we got to spend with her.

4. Cook Everything From Scratch

My grandmother was a great cook. She made some of the best meals and pies I’ve ever tasted. And none of it ever came out of a box.

I think that part of her “secret” to having such a long and healthy life is that she avoided processed foods. Processed foods are usually devoid of any nutritional value and are often full of fat, sugar, and salt. My grandmother regularly fed herself and her family fresh, wholesome foods that provided them with plenty of vitamins and minerals.

5. Keep a Clean Home

My grandmother took pride in keeping a clean home. I never once saw any sort of mess, dirt, or dust in her home. She always honored both herself and her guests by having a clean home.

Just imagine for a minute that you got a call today saying that somebody of importance (the queen, the president, or the primeminister) was going to come over to your home for dinner tomorrow night. Would you end up going on a mad cleaning spree to get your home prepared for this person’s visit? You would want to honor this person and give them a good impression by having a clean home right?

Well, why not honor yourself by keeping your home just as clean for yourself? You matter just as much as they do. Not only that, a fresh, clean home makes you feel good, and if it’s well organized, you even tend to think more clearly.

6. Enjoy Life

Grandma ate a lot of nutritious food and she exercised regularly, but she also enjoyed life.

She didn’t deny herself the things she enjoyed, she just enjoyed them in moderation. Every day she would have one cigarette with her morning coffee. She enjoyed eating a little bit of something sweet everyday, and she would also enjoy the occasional drink.

When my grandmother did these things she wasn’t thinking of how bad they were for her, or how they were going to make her sick, or fat. She just simply enjoyed them. Being stress-free and enjoying life can go a long way to helping you to live a long and happy life.

My grandmother also had a lot of fun. She could often be seen cracking a subtle joke with a twinkle in her eye and a sly smile on her face. We even have many photos of her doing funny poses in front of landmarks, or laughing while wearing crazy looking green sunglasses.

Laughing and having fun helps to reduce stress. Stress can take a major toll on your health, so make sure you take some time to laugh and play everyday.

7. If You Love Someone, Tell Them Frequently

I never doubted that my grandmother loved me because she told me every time I saw her.

Feeling loved makes us feel good. Who doesn’t feel a bit better about ourselves and our day when somebody tells us they love us?

Don’t just leave it as an unspoken assumption. Tell your loved ones that you love them. It will make their day, and you’ll feel better for it to!

8. Work Hard

When my grandmother got married, she and her husband had nothing to their name. No home, no money, no car and their families had no money to help them out.

Since my grandmother never had anything handed to her. She always took the initiative to work hard to get what she wanted. It payed off. By the time she and her husband retired, they had a successful farm and a well funded retirement plan.

It’s always nice to receive a helping hand or a timely gift, but you should never expect it. If you want something, roll up your sleeves, get to work, and make it happen for yourself.

9. Get up Early

You’ve probably heard the saying “The early bird gets the worm”. I’m not totally convinced that it’s true, I see birds eating all day long. But there might just be something to it since many successful people seem to share the habit of getting up early.

My grandmother was one of them. She would always be up around 5am and by the time the rest of the world was rolling out of bed, she had already walked 5 kilometers or more and eaten her breakfast. Just imagine how much more you could get done in a day if you got out of bed an hour earlier.

I have also read in several health related books that going to bed early and getting up early is better for your health. Seeing as my grandmother lived to be 91, there might just be something to this.

10. Trust in a Higher Power

My grandmother always believed that God would take care of her. This belief provided her with a sense of security, and it also became her reality. It always seemed like things worked out well for her.

Almost all major religions, and more recently, quantum physics, teach us that our thoughts and beliefs create our physical reality. So if you believe that you will always be taken care of and that things will work out for the best, it actually will.

Just imagine how much less stress you would feel if you believed that there was a greater power out there looking out for you and taking care of you.

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Posted by Colin   @   9 February 2010 2 comments
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