Last week I spoke with my Grandma. She’s turning 97 on the 30th of this month. Here is what she said: “Well, the doctors are telling me I’m going to die. It’s been great being your grandmother. I love you.”
It was cute, but devastating. Never once in my entire life have I heard this woman speak an unkind word. Every time I visit with her, in person or on the phone, she gives praise to me and everyone we talk about, always focusing on everyone’s positive attributes and the things that make them great. I responded with: “Well, it’s been great being your grandson! I love you, too. You have always been such a great example to all of us. Thank you, grandma.”
She has terminal cancer. I come from an incredible family, and everyone is doing what they can to ease her pain and make her comfortable. As my girlfriend pointed out last night, we are all going to die. We all have that in common. What kind of a legacy will we leave behind? When our loved ones speak of us after we have passed on, what will they say of us? How will they remember us?
I always say that they just don’t make them like they used to. I’m referring, of course, to the quality of some of the older generations, their ideals and standards and ways of living and thinking. Things got really screwed up somewhere along the way. I drop my sons off at their Junior High and High School and the kids are screaming obscenities and saying things that 20 or 30 years ago would have given any adult a heart attack. What changed so much that made kids these days think that that sort of behavior is okay or normal in any way? Look at the way society in general behaves today and compare it to 50 years ago. What changed so much? Is is what we watch in the movie theaters? Is it the video games we play? Is in immediate access to anything we want to view or research on the internet? What are our children thinking about and focusing on and spending most of their time on right now in their lives? What are we thinking about and focusing on and spending most of our time on right now in our lives??
The truth is, we are all self made. The sweet, kind, thoughtful person that my grandma is today and has always been was a daily, conscientious choice. She decided what kind of a person she wanted to be and became that, on purpose, every day of her life. The legacy my grandmother will be leaving behind is one of kindness, and I’m so grateful for how she has touched my life and for what a great example she has always been to me and others on how to always keep it classy.
We are all the architect of our inner lives. We have the opportunity to choose, at any given moment, what to think about and what to focus on. Over time, THAT is who and what we will become. Practice now being what and who you want to be. Be today the person you know your future self will thank you for being.
If we know what we want, we know what to focus on. Become clear on what you want, how you want to speak, think, and act. What do you want to do for work? This will determine what you focus on in school, your personal research and your goals. How do you want to look and feel? This will determine what you focus on eating and not eating, whether or not you exercise and what you do for exercise. What kind of person do you want to be with? This will determine what you focus on in order to become the person you need to be to attract that person you want to be with. Best advice I’ve ever been given or could give to another? Above all, be kind. I learned that from my grandma.
(Me and my beautiful Grandma Joe, 2014.)