Today I went to my Great Aunt Helen’s viewing. As I looked over the displayed pictures and thought about her life I began to remember her unique personality.
Aunt Helen and my Grandmother Florence were sister-in-laws and they were very similar. They were what would have been called “brash” in their day (or “originals” in ours). My grandmother smoked, drank PBR (in her younger days), wore red lipstick, nailpolish and dresses. Helen always dressed impeccably (even while just sitting ’round the house) and they both were outspoken Christians (nothing got in between them and their God). My Gram and Helen spoke their minds and did what they wanted to do. They let no one tell them who they were. They KNEW who they were.
I remember my Aunt Helen planting a firm kiss on my boyfriend after she had JUST met him simply because they had the same last name. He was taken aback, but she just smiled and said “It’s okay honey, I’m sure we’re related!” He probably still talks about that moment until this day.
My Grandmother often embarassed me with things she said, but she spoke her mind and, now that she’s gone, I miss it. Even if she did embarass me, she never regretted it. She would say “I don’t care what people think!” (I certainly think we should censor ourselves a BIT so as not to hurt other’s feelings, but being true to ourselves is also an admirable quality.)
They both lived life. I know that sounds weird, but I think we often don’t really LIVE life today. That’s why Mt. Dew and Dr. Pepper commercials are always telling us to “be originals” and showing people sky diving, car racing and mountain biking – we don’t really LIVE and we need to be reminded to do so!
I know I often censor myself a bit too much. I don’t get the bright red nail polish because I don’t want to stand out, I don’t wear the flashy clothes because I want to blend into the crowd and I don’t speak my mind because I just want people to like me. As a result, I think I’ve been missing out. My Grandmother and Helen never seemed to me to be people who regretted how they lived. They were happy and enjoyed life. My Gram often took trips and experienced new things just “because”. How often do I take chances and just “go with the flow”? Not often enough.
I want to brash. I want to wear that red nail polish (and maybe even lipstick!) and I want to get out there and live life to the fullest. No regrets.
How about you? Who has influenced you and what can YOU be doing to live life a little fuller?