What my almost 74-year old grandma has taught me this week

Here are some thoughts of what past generations used to do that we can avoid. Firstly, because we know better and are better informed. Secondly, because learning from others’ mistakes is the least painful way of learning for life. I hope my grandma will provide a valuable lesson for us all.

Those were the days: back when I used to live in Sibiu, Romania, my grandmother was the person I was sharing my house, my food and my life with. She has been around all the time ever since my parents divorced when I was six and I moved in with my dad, her and my grandfather. During the 13 years we spent in the same home, she managed to get me to watch Telenovelas (and learn Spanish along the way), she cooked and cleaned for me, she basically took care of most of the things my dad didn’t know how to handle.

She’s been and still is a very important person in my upbringing and life, considering the fact that we not only share genetic information, but also a lot of character traits. And fortunately, watching her make some mistakes with the people around her will eventually lead me into not making the same errors with the ones in my life.

You see, my grandma really likes attention. It’s partly normal because of her age, but she has that kind of thrill for attention that you can only find in particular people. Knowing that she had this ever since I was born, I now understand why over time, she constantly spoke badly of the people who were in her life but have left her, probably because she was trying to establish her image as the person who deserved all the attention and didn’t manage to get it. – Yes, that’s just like me at times. Guilty as charged. I like the right kind of attention received from intelligent people who leave their daily routines in order to listen to me and to what I have to say. The only problem is, this thing might backlash when I least expect it. For her, it meant not getting attention when she spoke of her illness to her children and relatives, simply because she was always kind of hypochondriac over the years. Now, as she seeks to find diagnostics from specialists in big cities, she faces the reverse of not paying attention to others while being focused on getting some for herself. Nobody listens anymore. Everybody has something better to do than hear you whine.

Then, there’s probably something I learned from her this week more important than anything she tried to teach me over the years: mens sana in corpore sano. Having a healthy mind inside a healthy body is something that definitely deserves my attention more than other small projects that block my time and my well being simply because they seem easier to do than change the core of what I’m already used to doing. She had to face it the hard way: 37 years of the same job with little to no physical exercise followed by a life of popping pills like there’s no tomorrow. She says she wants to visit Vienna, then she comes to Vienna and doesn’t want to leave the house. This is not what I imagine my future to be. Which is why I HAVE to get moving and sporting NOW.

I really hope you and I will all live to be her age and her agility. But in terms of health of mentality, I think we should overcome all the obstacles that previous generations have had in their way.

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