aerial photography of Eiffel Tower

What My Great-Grandmother Taught Me About Falling In Love With Life

A love letter to my great-grandmother and her romantic, organic hedonism.

My great-grandmother taught me to romanticize life, to follow my happiness, to live for joy, to cherish both the big and small, to fully engage with the world around me. If you met my great-grandmother, you would feel this too. But you haven’t, so why does it matter?

It matters because she fell in love with life; in turn, she lived it to the fullest. She lived with a passion and energy we should all adopt and live with. At the end of the day, materialism cast aside, all we have in life is our energy and our aura, the relationship we have with the world and the way we live in it. In reading this, I hope you too are stimulated to begin your love affair with life.

Although my age determined little first-hand knowledge of my great-grandmother, my life and soul will be forever entwined with her aura. She was charmed by the world, enchanted by its possibility; everything held beauty. My great-grandmother had a true zest for life—she loved living. Today, her memory lives on in my father, and as I tumble through my youth, I am captivated by the warmth of her soul.

Of course, you don’t know her, but that’s not necessary. Perhaps I write in a haze, my memories blurred with idolization and adoration. Does it matter? What are our fond memories if not slightly tinted with rose?

Embellished with splendid threads of colorful glass beads, arms clinking with chunky bangles, fingers adorned by marvellous gemstone rings and always favoring a silk scarf, what exuded most from her was her adoration of life. She played with life, soaked it up. My great-grandmother lived by simplicity so rare yet so beautiful. Our contemporary is so caught up in the technicalities and subjectivity of life that it overlooks our one objective truth: how blessed we are to be living. It is this seed of enthusiasm, this romanticism of life, and this passion that I plant, grow, and nurture within me. I believe everyone should.

Eating, making, and gifting food was a joy to her. Yes, calories still existed, and weight still fluctuated, but this didn’t overtly matter to her because all food was an indulgence. Gracing restaurants purely for their decadent pudding menu, sipping the richest, finest coffee, finding pleasure in the most delicate pastries and delectable cakes. My great-grandmother had a passion for indulgence. For this, she was spiritually richer.

Amongst the memories I so dearly cradle are the tales of her trips to Paris, some of which my father accompanied her on as a young boy. I imagine her laughing and strolling through the cobbled streets, engrossed by romantic French words, joyously window shopping in deliciously expensive boutiques, exploring trinkets on the antique markets, sampling the most luscious foods, living her life to the fullest. When I dream of my future, I dream of living this life, as captivated by it as she was; I truly wish to have the soul that my great-grandmother had.

It is not the concept of vacationing to Paris that I am in awe of, it is instead her relationship with life which I adore. My great-grandmother’s frolicking in Paris represents much more than a spontaneous adventure. It is an illustration of independence, effervescence, joie de vivre. To be her, to have her aura, is to constantly seek and follow joy. I think that what made her precious, amongst many things, was this flirtation with life; everybody needs this gift.

My memories of visits to her house are hued by warmth, a comfort I find today in Chai Lattes and hand-knitted jumpers and Halloween pumpkin carving. What I remember about her house is the raw, wholesome energy which was woven with memories and love and cosiness. A perfectly cluttered wooden table, potted plants, a pantry of spices and dried fruit, jam sandwiches and yoghurt bread.

We need my great-grandmother’s warmth and zest for life now more than ever. Mother Earth is communicating to us. Things are rapidly changing, our life doesn’t last forever, and we just cannot predict our future. Recent affairs have shown us we simply can’t afford to wait or to plan or even to live in theory—we must live in the energy of now. I remember once being told by an elderly couple to cherish life because every day is a gift; it truly is. Every day may not present itself as a gift, and it is unrealistic to expect happiness from every waking hour, because life happens. But constant happiness isn’t necessary. The energy I strive for, the aura which made my great-grandmother so special, was her deep love for life and everything in it. I am sure she had bad days, and I know that her life was not always a straightforward path, but at 89, she still overflowed with the most precious and radiant aura.

I hope to one day be like my beloved great-grandmother, to live and love and think and feel like her. I hope one day, you will be like her too. Until that day, I will live every day inspired by the wonderful woman that Connie was.

About the author
A twenty-year-old Literature student writing her way through life Read more articles from Hannah on Thought Catalog.

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