I believe that there are people you meet in life who shape your experience in some way. It might be a brief one-time encounter, a long friendship, a neighbour or a family member. Maybe it’s someone you never spoke to at all, just saw. There are moments in life that stick in your head and resurface further down the track. Conversations. Experiences. While it’s true that every person we ever meet effects our life in some way, simply by having met them, there are some that leave a lasting impression, or mark. For me, there have been a few. But mostly it was my nan and grandad (pictured).
Hec and Clare
My nan and grandad were everything that is good. They were loving, hilarious, insanely generous, and intelligent. They were hard working, and nothing was ever too big of a problem to solve. They were positive, and they were kind.
I often think that if everyone could have seen the world through my nan and grandad’s eyes, it would be a better place. To them, everyone was equal. Everyone deserved respect and everyone had something to offer. Selflessness wasn’t an option to them, it was a necessity. They had an optimistic outlook on life that was infectious – I think everyone that ever met them walked away smiling.
My nan and grandad shaped my life more than anything has. I learnt so much about life and about being a good person from them. They showed me what is important – treating everyone fairly and with kindness; knowing that anything actually is possible if you just try; spending your money on experiences and adventures rather than letting it sit in a bank; and most of all, treasuring the people you love. A meal or moonlit walk shared with one or two of those dearest to you is more important than a party or event or with dozens of people.
They believed that I was good so unfaltering that I began to believe it too; I believed that being good and honest and genuine was so much more important than being wealthy or beautiful or popular. They showed me the kind of life I want to live: a life where I can help others, make a difference in some small way, follow my passions and love. They showed me that it’s okay to talk to animals like they’re friends, and that anyone who thinks you’re uncool for hanging with your grandparents every other week isn’t worth your time. They showed me that you don’t stop believing in what you care about just because it might seem hopeless, and you don’t stop trying to achieve your goals just because it gets hard.
They also taught me to live authentically. I learnt from them that living life in the real world meant not becoming absorbed in technology. Exploring with a phone isn’t really exploring; holidaying with your ipad isn’t really holidaying. When you have down-time, it’s better spent reading a book or doing a hobby than scrolling through Facebook (I don’t think they actually knew what Facebook was). You don’t need to look glamourous all the time; gumboots and jeans are just as good.
Getting to spend the first 21 years of my life with nan and grandad is something I will forever be grateful of. They were the best people I’ve ever known, and I hope that maybe someday I can rub some of their influence off on someone else.