Whilst catching up with the latest happenings on Twitter this morning I read a tweet from one of my 'imaginary friends' about her Gran's birthday which got me thinking about both my Grandmothers, but my maternal Grandmother in particular who we called Nanan.
Nanan had a very interesting life and there is many a time I wish she was still around to tell me all about it again but unfortunately she died quite a few years ago, in fact on the day I got my O-level results, but I'm not going to tell you how many years ago that was! She was a very determined lady, nothing stood in her way and as far as I could tell she didn't spend too much time worrying. Now I'm one of life's great worriers, I inherited that skill from my paternal Grandmother. I've even been known to worry about the fact that I've nothing to worry about because it must mean I've forgotten something. However, what I try to do now when I spend too much time worrying is try to think about what Nanan would have done.
She grew up in a tiny village on Anglesey called Llansadwrn and made a promise to a chap that was going off to fight in the First World War that she would marry him when he returned. He came back shell shocked, gassed and with TB and she kept her promise. They married and went to live in Blaenau Ffestiniog where he worked in the slate quarry. Her first daughter was born (my half Aunt) who was poorly for quite a few years and she used to bring her back to Anglesey on holiday to see her relatives and for the fresh sea air. On one of these trips a friend asked her to come back home and, from what I can remember, she said "find me a pub to run and I will" which was a bit of an odd comment as she'd never run any business before and never in her life set foot in a pub, in fact she was teetotal. Anyway, her friend wasn't going to let this go and found out that the lease was coming up on the Pilot Boat Inn in Dulas on Anglesey, she let Nanan know, Nanan applied and got it. She successfully ran this pub for many years, eventually buying the lease herself. It was her strength of character during this time that impresses me and I do wish I'd inherited it! During her first few years at the Pilot Boat her first husband was very poorly and eventually died. Nanan married again quite a few years later and my Mum was born but unfortunately my Grandfather died when my Mum was only seven leaving Nanan to run the pub single handedly again. Eventually she sold the pub, went on a grand tour of Europe by train, came back and went on to have quite a few more adventures.
Looking back on the stories she used to tell me about her life they were full of the things she'd done, she'd seen and achieved. None of them were about the things she'd wished she'd done or seen or places she wished she'd been to. Her life, though very hard at times, didn't seem to be full of regrets. I was recently given a copy of the following poem which reminds me at times that I should try and be more like Nanan, spend less time worrying and more time enjoying.
If I had my Life to Live Over
I'd dare to make more mistakes next time.
I'd relax, I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have been this trip.
I would take fewer things seriously.
I would take more chances.
I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers.
I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would perhaps have more actual troubles,
but I'd have fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I'm one of those people who live
sensibly and sanely hour after hour,
day after day.
Oh, I've had my moments,
And if I had it to do over again,
I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments, one after another,
instead of living so many years ahead of each day.
I've been one of those people who never goes anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat
and a parachute.
If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over,
I would start barefoot earlier in the Spring
and stay that way later in the Fall.
I would go to more dances.
I would ride more merry-go-rounds.
I would pick more daisies.