The simplest of simple
The way to go?
I’ve just spent a week with my grandfather in Cornwall. He has lived possibly the simplest life of anyone that I know. My grandad, as he’s known, has never left the UK. I’m not actually sure he has a passport. He’s like one of those weird US Bush supporters of years gone by (I am loathe to associate him with Trump), but dare I say, just a bit cooler.
You see, my Grandad is possibly the most laid-back, contented person I know. With a relative lack of drive, comes an endearing lack of envy, jealousy or snobbery. He’s always just done what he needs to do to provide for his family and be happy.
At times I find his bigotry and close-mindedness frustrating, but I am always overwhelmed by his unwavering love. I have never felt a need to prove anything to him; I know that he just loves me because I am his daughter’s, daughter. And not naughty or weird. I will always remember trying to explain PR to him post uni as I got my first job at Hill & Knowlton: “So Grandad, I am basically helping to tell some of the stories in the news…which paper do you read for the news?” Grandad: “West Briton” (note: a newspaper only published in mining-country Cornwall). Me persevering, “well, what do you read for national news?”, Grandad “ Western Morning News” (a paper that covers Devon AND Cornwall). Me: “I give up!”.
But, even now at 87, despite his beloved wife decaying in a home thanks to to alzheimer's, he’s still pretty happy just listening to BBC Radio Cornwall, reading The West Briton and sometimes The Express (yup, some people do buy it!).
And yet I find ways to admire him, even for his differences.
Grandad has aways kept a strong metal mind: he reads four books a week and plays cards twice a week. Yes, he watches shit TV, but he’s nearly always reading a book with it as background noise.
On Wednesday Grandad was all trussed up and ready for his night out: shirt & tie, flat cap and coat all on. Whilst waiting for his lift — which was more than 45 minutes late I said “what happens if they don’t come, shall I give you a lift there?” to which he replied “if they don’t want me to play, they just won’t come”. So calm, so relaxed. I just couldn’t FATHOM being so chilled about being blown out, but it was fine. Just one of those things.
Because I think that when you stop competing, being anxious about EVERYTHING and just taking it as it comes, life is more relaxed. No FOMO, no anxiety that others might take your place. just acceptance.
So whilst I remain committed to making the best of the life I have and living to my potential, I must take heed of these small reminders from Grandad whilst he’s still here. He won’t be around forever to keep me in check and make sure I just slow down and try to focus on keeping things simple. It’s not a race. There are chapters and I must just keep on reading. And it’s actually OK to focus on the basics — like love for you family — because that is ultimately what you’ll be remembered for .