I recently spent a few days with my grandparents during my trip to the east coast. They live in a quaint, rural community where everyone knows each other by name. While I was there, I noticed a few differences in the way they live. Here are a few lessons I learned from my grandparents.
1. There’s nothing wrong with living life slowly.
There seems to be this idea that people need to do everything, all at once, as quickly as possible. So many people are rushing through life without getting to experience all the little things in between. There’s a quote attributed to John Lennon that states that “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” I spend so much time thinking and planning my future actions, that I often don’t take time to notice what’s going on around me now. I want to embrace a quieter life. One that has more meaning. I want to try to be more in the moment, more mindful. To experience everything that’s happening now, rather than distracting myself with what I should do next.
2. Routine can be a good thing.
My grandparents have their routine down to a science. They have tea at precisely 10 am and 2 pm. My grandpa checks the mail every day at the same time. Having a routine can be very comforting. It’s nice to know exactly when certain things are happening. As an introvert, I don’t enjoy surprises, so I always plan my days from start to finish. Sometimes I feel as though I’m being too controlling and not flexible enough. But seeing my grandparent’s routine reassured me that there’s nothing wrong with doing things the same. Obviously, this doesn’t mean that I don’t ever go out and do things. But I try to schedule them into my week, allowing enough quiet time before and after, so I don’t get too drained. A routine life may not be exciting, but I find comfort in knowing what is going to happen. Plus, with a routine, I can make sure that I get all the important things done.
3. Laughter really is the best medicine.
In those few days with my grandparents, I probably laughed more than I have in the last month. They’re extremely funny, in a dry, witty, slightly sarcastic way. My nana is an expert at inserting little comments into the conversation when you least expect them. Humour is so essential in life. Having the ability to laugh about things makes life a little easier. I know that I don’t laugh very much on my own. It’s more difficult when you aren’t living with someone who makes you laugh. But I can always call home, spend time with friends, or watch some funny videos online if all else fails 🙂
4. It doesn’t matter what the neighbours think (or anyone else for that matter).
My grandparents are some of the most carefree people I know. They don’t care how others see them or what others think of them. They’ve lived very full lives and along the way, realized that being concerned about how others view you is a waste of time. This inspires me. There’s no reason I should waste my time and energy being worried about how others see me. Obviously, I’m not going to go out of my way to purposely invite provocation. But at the same time, I’m not going to spend precious energy on trying to please people I may not even know. I’m tired of trying to live up to the expectations I think people have for me. When in reality, they probably don’t even notice, or care.
5. Take time for tea (and other activities that you enjoy).
One of the most enjoyable little rituals we had was tea time. Every day, at precisely 10 am and 2 pm, my grandpa would set the kettle on the stove to boil. I loved that time. We just sat around the kitchen table with our cups of tea, chatting and enjoying each others company. It was so relaxing. It made me realize that its easy to find small joys throughout the day. Small moments of time where you can just sit and be. Taking a tea break isn’t a waste of time. Especially when it relaxes and recharges you for the rest of the day. I’m going to institute tea time at work. So every day at 10 and 2, I will make myself a pot of tea. And finding time for other enjoyable activities is just as important.
Do you have any life lessons to share?