We all have inspiring wonderful people in our lives that spur us on to be better people, and one of mine I call Gran. She isn't the mother of either of my parents, but she is a woman in her 80's who knows how to speak her mind, can best me in a crossword puzzle and does not know the meaning of 'I shouldn't'. Besides the tenacious gumption of this remarkable woman, I'm infatuated with the fact she began following her dreams at the spring chicken age of 62.
Gran devoted her life to her family, but once those three tots were out and taking over the world in their own way, Gran realized it was time to finally pursue that passion she had been pushing aside for so long. You know, that thing we keep telling ourselves we would love to do but it isn't the right time? It was finally her time, and her dream was to be a watercolour artist. It's like her hands were meant to hold a paintbrush and the second she focused on painting, they breathed a sigh of relief.
After only one year of painting she received her first commission from one of the spectacular wineries in our little wine filled part of Ontario. They requested that she make the painting to represent the energy of the winery and for it to be 22 x 30 in size (which is massive for any artist let alone a 63 year old one who had only just begun painting). It was to be the focal point for the main hall of the winery and yes... a big freakin' deal! Gran says that she was overwhelmed, freaked out and...
refused to back away from something because she was afraid.
She proudly states that there is absolutely no room in her life for regrets and I have actually watched her roll her eyes when the topic of fear comes up!
Gran continued to immerse herself into learning new techniques, seeking out teachers with fresh perspectives and was known for jumping out of bed at 3 am because inspiration was striking. Her walls are the perfect Tetras game of her devotion to her artwork (her framer must love her!)
Whenever I leave from a visit with Gran I am a whirlwind of mixed of emotions. On the one hand I am completely inspired and ready to take on any new adventure and tell fear to get in the back seat because I am driving this crazy car. On the other, I feel small, embarrassed and ashamed for all of the times I know I let excuses get in the way or think that at 43 I am what I am and I should just accept it. Ultimately, I leave her home with a choice...
be brave with my life or just settle for it.
And after hours of tea, and a belly full of scones, it's truly impossible to do anything but ride the wave of her inspiration and choose to be brave. Because if a 62 year old woman can follow her dream and not let popular opinion or her fear get in the way, then why can't I?
Of course, the lessons from Gran don't end here, this paintbrush wielding Granny bubbles over with wisdom:
My Favourite Lessons From the Gumption Filled Gran
- If I am not feeling uncomfortable, then I am not growing.
- What is the worse that can happen if I do something that freaks me out?
- Do I want excuses or regrets?
- Follow my curiosities, you never know when you will uncover a true passion.
- If people judge you, find other people (I love this!)
I say that I visit Gran to keep her company and bring joy to her day, but the truth is, I go for my own selfish need of inspiration and for her light a fire under my behind!