My grandmother was a wise woman. She used to say that age was just a number and that she hoped to have “a lot of numbers!” This lady never acted her age. She ate candy bars, usually something with dark chocolate, before dinner. She knew pop culture references that would have surprised many of her peers. Yet, she also used the wisdom that living a long, full life brought to her. She never complained about the aches and pains of physically growing older because she looked at aging as a gift. The one thing that saddened her as she grew older was the fact that her circle diminished as her friends and loved ones died.
My grandmother saw a lot in her lifetime. She lost her parents in the same week to the flu when she was only 5 years old, then moved hundreds of miles away with relatives that she had never met. She yearned to be a doctor but wasn’t allowed to go to college. She bought the books and found an apprenticeship-of-sorts with a physician on her own to work in the field. In my eyes, she was smarter than any schooled doctor out there, often diagnosing both common and complicated illnesses in our family. She adopted an attitude of positivity early in life that she held dear throughout. Any pitfalls weren’t looked on with negativity, but with the lessons they provided. Life, all of it–the good, the outrageous, the hilarious, the tragic, the enlightening, the crushing–was a sweet gift. I’ve always found myself using her example as my template.
As you gather with your family and friends this Thanksgiving, look for the sage in your world. Look for the one who can speak truth into life and provide the motivation that’ll keep you moving forward. If, as in the case of my sweet grandmother, that sage has passed on, bring them to life again by sharing their stories. There’s truth to the Banksy quote:
“I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time.”
Find your person. Share the stories. Be grateful for the wisdom.