11 life lessons my Grandad taught me

As Father’s Day has been and gone I’m reminded of my wonderful Grandad who I last saw on Father’s Day two years ago to the day. He was the most incredible man who has truly shaped me into the person I am today. He was incredibly strong, determined, well-loved and funny and I miss him unbelievably. But I carry him with me every single day as he has made me, and all of my family, who we are. 

As an ode to him on the anniversary of losing him, I wanted to write down the life lessons that he has taught me over the years, and what our very special relationship taught me, so that I never forget them.

 I’ll forever be a Grandad’s girl. 

To believe in myself

My Grandad always used to say: “You’re no better than anyone, but you’re no worse either”. This saying has really stuck with me and reminds me to back myself whenever I’m in doubt, because I’m just as capable as the next person. It also reminds me to always stay humble and to appreciate and respect everyone, as absolutely everyone has something to offer and teach you.

To be honest, always 

My grandad used to say – and his Dad used to say it to him – “A liar is worse than a thief, because a thief can only steal your belongings, but a liar can steal your reputation”. I’ve never forgotten this and think honesty is the foundation of all good relationships. 

To never settle for anything less than I deserve

If I was worried about something, my Grandad always used to say: “you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do”. He taught me to be strong, to stay true to myself, to make my own decisions and to not do something just because others did. He taught me that I should never settle for anything less than what I deserved, because he helped me see my self-worth and showed me that I had the power to control my own life. 

The importance of laughter

My Grandad was the world’s best story teller, he had so many facinating stories and he could command a whole room’s attention and leave everyone in fits of laughter. He laughed every single day and knew how to be silly and he made the littlest things in life fun. I’ll never forget the car rides we used to have together where he’d pretend the car was an aeroplane about to take off and he was the pilot and I was the air stewardess talking over the speaker. Or when he made a treasure hunt for me around the house with little clues leading to a present in the bread bin – with the clue “you have to use your loaf!”. And when we went on holiday together and he hand sculpted in sand the most incredible boat for us both to sit in. He even used to let me pretend I was a hairdresser and comb his hair! He made life fun and made me laugh so much.

To never go to bed on an argument

My Nan and Grandad had the most wonderful marriage. They were first and foremost the best of friends and each others confidante. They both taught me to never go to bed on an argument and to not be too proud to say sorry. 

Age is only a number 

My Grandad taught me that age really is only a number. He never wanted to be an ‘elderly’ person who could only talk about their ailments, or be treated any differently because of age. He was always full of fun, life and vigour and had close friends who were more than half his age. He taught me that friendship is generationless and we had the best friendship. 

Feeling loved is the best way to be spoiled

My Grandad absolutely spoiled me with love and that made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I didn’t get spoiled with presents or sweets, it was the love he showed me and time he gave to me that made me feel spoiled.

To look after yourself 

My Grandad always made an effort and looked smart – it was the biggest sign of respect. Even when he was ill, he always put on a smart shirt. He was the most handsome man and I was so proud to be his granddaughter. 

To be a good listener

My Grandad was the greatest listener and gave the best advice. He’d truly listen and would offer his words of wisdom and support. He always had time for you, even when he was ill he was always more focused on other people and I’d sit moaning about my day with my feet up on his bed! He was the bloody best.

To be strong

My Grandad had such strength. You felt safe and protected with him and that no harm could come your way as long as you were with him. He was the head of the family. He used to tell us he used to be a cowboy and we believed him. He wasn’t afraid to speak his mind, to stand up for what he believed in – he lead the pack, he didn’t follow the crowd. He was unequivocally himself and didn’t worry what others thought of him. If we came to him with a problem, he’d say “don’t worry I’ll sort them out” even when it was about a nightmare boss I had! He made anything seem easy to face and he taught us all to be strong. 

Cuddles make everything better

Since I was little, he used to have a nap every night after dinner, and I’d find a little nook under his arm and we’d both fall asleep, or I’d sit on his feet which he’d make into a little chair as we watched Only Fools or Horses, or Open All Hours. I think I was sitting on his lap and running up to him and giving him cuddles til I was nearly as tall as him! 

I love you Grandad. 

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