I have a Grandmother who is nearly 89 years old. Let me tell you about her…
When I was young she lived right next door to us. My earliest memories are pebbled with instances of being loved, cared for and nurtured by her. Frequently my sisters and I ate dinner in her house. We bathed in her bath and we slept in her beds. In essence, she loved us in the way only a grandmother could. I never remember EVER a cross word being spoken to us, by her. She was gentle, kind, loving and spectacularly grandmotherly. She had a full bosom that she used to grab us to and hold us tight. On our birthdays she baked us a cake. She loved us, protected us and cherished us as only a Grandparent could. She gave us love freely and unconditionally, without expectation and without premise.
My grandmother has reached the ripe old age of 89. And although she still lives by herself, she has reached the stage where help from the family has become almost a necessity. I used to visit my Grandma every single week. The whole way through my third pregnancy and up until Maya was a year old, I religiously went every Tuesday to cook her lunch and spend time with her.
However, when I started my business I stopped going.
I got so busy that i stopped making it important. Other things got in the way: I now had new responsibilities and new customers to service. My weekly visits soon went to bi-weekly and then to monthly, and then infrequently.
Did she complain? Never. She told me that my life was important to me, and that since I was busier now, not to bother with her. She told me she was grateful for everything that I had done thus far, and that I was only to come when it suited me. How many people in this life do you know would let you go so graciously?
I believed my own excuse that I was just “too busy” to visit her. But what does “too busy” really mean? What could be more important that my lovely, old Grandma?
So as I think of her today, it strikes me that there are three lessons to be learned in all of this:
1. Make time for what is important to you
“I don’t have the time” is really code for “This is not my priority right now” . Make time for what is important to you, but don’t forget the really important stuff. Don’t have any regrets.
2. Be very clear on why you are doing what you are doing
When I sat down and thought about it, I realised that if my Grandma died tomorrow I would regret not making the effort to spend more time with her. Me being there for two hours, one time per week, brightens up her day like it is Christmas. How can I be too busy for that? Is what I am working for, on the other side, worth more than that? Be clear on your priorities.
3. If tomorrow was your last day on earth, how would you spend it?
Chances are it wouldn’t be at your desk, sending emails and working on spreadsheets. Never lose sight of what is important. Create balance in your life so that you will never have the chance to look back and say “What if….?”