5 Shades of Gold: The Invaluable Life Lessons I Learned from My Grandparents


While I have only been around for only two decades and three years, I would want to be wise beyond my years. I suppose life is a lot easier if you already possess the wisdom you need to always get things done right all the time. However, life does not operate that way.

Fortunately, I can always learn from the experiences my grandparents have gone through – some learned the hard way. Suffice it to say, it is but sensible to learn as much from our grandparents, while they are still around to impart priceless lessons they’ve learned along the way.

To commemorate my Lolo Gangga and Lola Litang’s golden wedding anniversary, allow me to impart 5 golden life lessons they have taught me.

1. Prioritise education

While you are young, you have all the freedom to suck all the lemons and throw them drinks back. But, do not let your freedom to explore and have fun get in the way of your education. Sure, going to school is not exactly all bliss and glory, but you most likely won’t have so much going for you if all you have is your drunken memories. Nothing is more fruitful than feeding your mind with knowledge. “Enjoy life but never neglect education,” these were the words of my grandfather, which pretty much sums up what a balanced life looks like.

2. Build a home for your family

We live in a culture where close family ties is considered the norm. However, while everyone can attest to that, we cannot ignore the fact that sometimes the search for the so-called ‘greener pastures’ will force us to seek financial security in a faraway country. While advances in technology has made it effortless to stay in touch nowadays, nothing can ever compare to still having a place one can come home to.

Aspire to build a home for your family. Do not wait for your plans to turn into regrets. Remove the “bahala na” habit and stop using “busy” as an excuse. One thing’s certain: if you really want something, you will always find a way to attain it. So, stop dreaming. Start planning and do everything in your power to make things happen.

3. Have an ambition in life and work your way towards it

Happy-go-lucky sounds fun but it is a dangerous way to live because unlike change, luck is not certain. Besides, the likelihood of achieving great things is higher if you know what your goals are to begin with. Pick a single goal and be sure you want it bad enough to want to work towards its attainment each day. My grandparents’ secret to getting the gold is doing little things each day and never stopping until they get to where they want to be. This entails seeing things from a different perspective. I learned to adapt a practical mentality. That means I expect no special treatment. No excuses. No short cuts. Just hard work.

4. Do not pay attention to intrigues and gossips

There is something about gossips that can get to you and even break you, especially if you give in to them. As you go through life’s many challenges, you will likely encounter things that can get the most of you, if you’ll let it. The only problem is, if you pay attention, much more jump into the pool of gossips, you will definitely drown. The only way to keep your sanity is to not give it any attention. My grandma is no stranger to this kind of struggle as she relayed stories of how she dealt with false stories being circulated about her and her family. I remember her telling us to, “choose your battles.” It’s such a simple, yet very profound advice. And the wisdom of that statement will forever stay with me.

“If your instincts tell you there is some kind of truth in a particular statement, it will be best to check and investigate. Otherwise, feel free to go ahead and ignore it,”she said.

5. Adapt the ‘fear is just a word’ mentality

In life, there are times wherein you decide to pursue something or not.  More often than not though, the many times you opt for the latter, fear is the underlying reason.  My grandpa told me, “If you are afraid, you won’t even attempt to try anything.” True enough, it is fear that stops you from trying.  And you will never succeed if you won’t even try. In a life full of uncertainty, you have to be strong enough to NOT fear FEAR and you will eventually learn to view it as just another word in the dictionary.

Though these may sound like basic lessons, it is easy to forget about them as we go through life’s daily hustle and bustle. I couldn’t be more thankful I have these two to remind me how not to merely survive, but to live and thrive.

Add me on G+: Alexine Sadaya , and twitter: @chingsadaya