A Lesson from Grandma

It’s been exactly a year now since Grandma died.  I know that because we have it marked on our calendar to visit her grave.

Personally, I didn’t want to see my grandma’s grave a year later.  It did not feel like something that should be marked on the calendar like we do birthdays or when a family from out of town comes down to visit.  I almost used the class as an excuse not to go with my parents, but since I live with them, I didn’t even bother to try.  I just didn’t understand, or appreciate the reason we were going at the time.

“We’re here!”  Dad said as he pulled up to the cemetery where Grandma was buried.

Mom, Dad, and I all got out of the car and started walking over our plot where Grandma was buried.  I knew the way, but I felt so uncomfortable that I followed behind my parents.

I think Mom noticed, because as soon as we got there, she turned, and waited for me with a smile that felt obligated.

“Here, you can do the honors.”  She handed me the bouquet of flowers to lay down on top of her grave.

“Thank you,” I replied in sort of a mumble.

It took me a split moment of hesitation, but it was the only reply I could come up with.

After I had set the flowers on Grandma’s grave, my mother said a few words.  I didn’t say anything.  I just felt awkward, and unsure what to do other than simply stand there for a while in the silence.  When it was time for the silence to come to an end Dad, put his hand on my mom’s back.  She turned to him with that same smile and agreed it was time to go.

Although the visit to Grandma’s grave seemed insignificant, and ordinary, it turned out to be the little thing that led up to a big decision, not a whole lot later.

I had class so soon after the visit that I couldn’t even change out of my button shirt, and slacks into something more casual for school.  In fact, I had to speed all the way there in my car to barely make it in time for my English Professor to follow me in to start his lesson.

It was sitting in that chair while the professor was talking that I had my revelation.  I looked down and saw that my dress shoes were still on because I didn’t even have enough time anymore to change before leaving.  My schedule had been that tight since I had started, and it wasn’t letting up.  I was still living with my parents, I didn’t feel anywhere closer to anything but debt, and more importantly I wasn’t happy.

Visiting Grandma earlier that day reminded me of her philosophy and I remembered the story of Grandma telling Mom when she was a teenager and wanted to write music:

“If that’s what you want to do, then don’t waste your time doing anything else, because you’ll realize one day you only have time for so many songs.”

My mom didn’t follow the advice, but my Grandma and Grandpa did their entire lives, and couldn’t have been happier.  I realized I was tired of working to prove my knowledge to someone else, and started working on an online business that would make me happy.  I already knew a lot of what I needed to know, but college essentially told me you shouldn’t dare try.

That day I seriously considered taking the idea of what Grandma lived behind, apply it to my life by dropping out of college, and putting my time into starting an online business.

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