A simple 98 years

Or the alternative title: What my Grandma taught me about simplicity

Last week my last surviving grandparent passed away, aged 98 years. I have spent the past week reflecting on her life, and what her legacy is to me, my family and the world as a whole. And the word that keeps coming back is this – SIMPLICITY.

As a woman who left her home of Scotland in the late 1940s to move across the world to New Zealand, she had a love of travel and adventure. But yet she didn’t partake in much of that herself. But she relished stories from others – whether friends and family or fiction or non-fiction. She would lap it up and ask for more. People and places fascinated her. She traveled where I traveled and loved the postcards I would send from each new destination. She taught me that you don’t always have to be there to take it all in and savour those experiences.

She never drove a car, used a computer, owned a credit card, used an ATM machine or had a mobile phone. But that didn’t make her any less hungry for information. I for one, am not suggesting that we should banish technology, but I love the fact she could lead a happy and contented existence in the face of such huge changes in the world. These changes didn’t seem to affect her except to harness her insatiable curiosity for understanding why someone would use such an object! She found pleasure in people and walks, stories and conversations, exercise and healthy food.

And each time I think of my grandma I think of a sentence that Brene Brown said during her talk in London last week (conincedintally, about an hour before my grandmother’s funeral)

“We steam roll over our lives in the pursuit of the extraordinary.”

Brene Brown was commenting that in Western culture we equate ordinary lives with meaningless and boring lives, and therefore are always striving for the extraordinary and losing out on all those magical and ordinary moment of our lives, of our weeks and of every day.

I think my Grandma was pretty extraordinary at living an ordinary life and finding true pleasure in it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *