The People Who Shape Us

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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.

Why I Write

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I’m stealing Orwell’s title, here. Partly because he’s great, partly because I didn’t know what else to call this. So I hadn’t planned to include random musings on this blog, but now and then I have a thought (etc.), and I’ve concluded that thoughts (not necessarily mine) are interesting. So why not write about them?

My most immediate thought came as I was compiling all of the material for this blog. I went through all my old journals and school books, and attacked my computer filing system. There was so much stuff. A trilogy of books I wrote in primary, modelled on the Harry Potter series and named after my cousin; dozens and dozens of short stories and barely-started books; terrible songs written during my college years… As I went through everything, I thought: why do I write? Why have I always written?

I managed to narrow it down to three things: The Three E’s. Expression, Enjoyment, Escape. They all overlap.

Writing is an outlet, where you throw thoughts and ideas and opinions onto paper and feel better just because you got it out. It’s freeing, because you can write absolutely anything you want. There are no limits. You can create people, invent places and determine the fate of your constructed world. Writing lets you explore. Anything is possible, with a pen in your hand.

In high school I would get home in the afternoon, ride my horse, then sit down and write for 1-2 hours. For fun. As soon as I started, I didn’t want to stop. I remember the time going so quickly, I would only realise that an hour had passed when my hand began getting sore. It didn’t matter to me if anyone ever read any of it, I just liked writing. I would get caught up in the characters I had created, invested in their story and excited to see how it would turn out. I didn’t plan much (still don’t), just had a rough idea and began writing. Take my Western novel, for example. I knew that it wasn’t an amazing book as I was writing it, certainly not worthy of being published, but I didn’t care. Writing it was fun, and something I wanted to achieve for myself. Is there a point in writing at all if you don’t enjoy it? If it isn’t for yourself? Probably – but that’s why I write, anyway.