So before we get into this, I want to warn you, this is me opening up and being vulnerable. So judge ya momma before you judge me (or anyone else for that matter). Cool? Cool.
You ever just need a break from all of life? I mean a literal blackout from everything. No contact with anyone, no going to work every day, no going out, anything? Well, I have and I wanted to do it for the entire year, from June 2017 until June 2018 I just wanted to be left alone for forever.
This past year, I’ve had 4 major deaths in my family (grand aunt, my uncle, my grandmother, and my cousin), other family members who’ve had some type of near-death experience, personal illness, and finally my work environment became increasingly difficult to navigate. Each of these issues sent me sent me spiraling into a ball of emotions and feelings that I never thought I’d escape.
The most difficult thing to deal with though? My grandma’s battle with pancreatic cancer. This will probably sound dramatic but hey, it’s me; although amplified by the other issues, her death had to have been the second hardest of my life. The first was her sister’s 6 months prior.
In August of 2017 (a few days before my birthday), my mother called me, asked me if I was alone and proceeded to give me the motherly “I have bad news” voice – you know which one I’m talking about. The soothing yet very serious voice, the one that screams “EVERYTHING IS NOT OKAY BUT IT WILL BE OKAY” – yep, that one. She told me not to tell anyone yet but, grandma was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Of course, I had a ton of questions: “Okay, so its early, they can fix it right? What stage?” “Stage 4.” “Oh. Okay. Well, did they give any hope? How much time?” I know I had to ask my mother a million questions that day – answers that she either refused to tell me or didn’t have. I was livid. Like woooowwww don’t you think I’ve been through enough this year, sir?! LOL. But have you ever heard people say if you want to make God laugh, tell him what your plan is? Yep, that. I told God to give me 5 years, he gave me 5 months.
Since January, I’ve thought about my grandmother every single day. I’ve laughed, cried, threw temper tantrums, everything under the sun. But with every memory, she’s managed to remind me of the lessons she taught me.
Here are a few life and money lessons from my grandma:
Appreciate and Cherish your Family
First and foremost, family is everything. My cousins and I were raised practically as brothers and sisters and we’d have it no other way. My grandma got all 16 of her grandkids at once… in a very small house… every summer. We shared beds, ate watermelon with salt, ran through sprinklers, sat in the pink chair when we got in trouble, anything you can think of we did it, all together, almost all the time. This bond was reinforced every time we’d visit her, and it wasn’t until I was older that I realized that it was very intentional. My grandma instilled in us a very strong sense of family. These people, while they may get on your every nerve, are the people who are and will be there for you during every trial, tribulation, and win. So lean on them, cherish them, and appreciate them for being present.
Staying organized can help save money, time, and heartache. My grandma was the most organized person in my family; I mean everything had a place. Each object had a rhyme or reason and nothing was ever wasted. Take time to do inventory of what you have before making a trip to the store, it will definitely help save a few coins. Oh, and if you used something, you’d better put it back where it belongs or be prepared for the consequences.
Always Keep Written Record of your Money and Bills
“Make sure you keep a record of what you spent and balance your checkbook,” she said to me one day when I asked her for money advice. Of course, I do not use a checkbook now lol but it made sense. When you write down how much money you spent in a day, you begin to see how those little expenses add up here or there. It seems old and outdated and I’m definitely the worst at this but, when I take the time to write it all down, I see exactly how much money is flying out of the window smh.
Nature is the Cure
Grandma loved nature; she loved to garden, sit outside and read her paper, or just sit and listen and watch. We were very much alike in a lot of ways and being in nature is one of them. She taught me that being in/with nature can help to calm you (if the mosquitoes don’t eat you alive of course) and relax your mind. Growing vegetables or herbs can also help you to feel a sense of accomplishment which is helpful if you’re stuck in a rut. Taking the time to take in the fresh air, the sun (or rain sometimes) and the sounds around you promote not only a healthy mind but a healthy spirit.
How to Deal with People and Borrowing Money
People are… well… people. They breathe like you, they have feelings and emotions like you, and they make mistakes but, love them regardless. This is more of a “Golden Rule” thing but treat people how you want to be treated and if they treat you like shit (excuse my language) in return then keep moving right along because God is going to bless you anyway. Also, her “trick” to dealing with parents, managers, supervisors, etc. was to cuss them out in your head. Be mad all you want but keep it inside until you can release when they aren’t around haha.
On borrowing money: my mom always told me that my grandma told her to only let people “borrow” money if you had it to give away. Don’t expect it in return if you give it. Simple as that. If they don’t return it, oh well, once again, you’ll be blessed ten-fold. (Trust me I still struggle with this one because you better give me my doggone money back – I’m broke too haha).
Never Saying No to New Experiences
Exactly that. Live your life, enjoy your life, and don’t let anyone tell you-you can’t do something or stop you from doing what you love. Try new food, travel the world, learn a new skill, and never turn down new experiences. That’s how you learn and experience all this world has to offer.
Live your best life and live with no regrets. In the end, you still learned something. Everything in life is a teachable moment no matter how bad or good the situation turned out there is always a lesson. In other words, YOLO.
Love you Always Phyllis Ann <3.