5 Lessons I Learned From My Grandma Genie

I was sad to miss mother's day with my amazing mom, but I got to spend it with my amazing grandma this year. This 90-year old lady is one of a kind. She grew up the youngest of 10 children, snuck a horse upstairs in her house to play a trick on her dad, has an insatiable zest for adventure and life, drove countless miles across the US on her amazing road trips, and knows how to tell a good story. I've learned so much from my Grandma Genie, however, here are five of the lessons:

1) Be yourself. 

Grandma Genie is and has always been unapologetically and completely herself. She doesn't apologize for herself, and is one of the most stubborn people that I know. She doesn't let anyone's opinion influence her at all. She's always telling me that I'm amazing just the way I am, and that I should stay true to myself. 

2) Remember to laugh. 

Some of my favorite memories with my Grandma Genie are of us not being able to stop laughing. She has always liked playing silly tricks on people, telling funny stories, and reminding everyone around her to see the humor in life and not take it too seriously. It's a good reminder to lighten up!

3) Look for red birds in Arkansas.

My grandma is a perpetual optimist, who is always looking for symbols of good luck and that life is going to take a turn for the better. She always says that red birds are a symbol of good luck. While we can't always see red birds in Arkansas, one of her favorite places in the whole world, whenever I see a red bird, I feel my grandma's hopeful nature fill me up.

4) Strangers are just friends you haven't met yet. 

Every time I have ever traveled with my grandma, we would end up making friends everywhere we met. Strangers at rest stops, restaurants, flea markets, you name it, they would suddenly become close friends. Grandma Genie even used to invite her new friends to her house in Louisiana and sometimes, they would show up, much to my grandpa's chagrin! I now know that a smile goes a long way, and that everyone has the potential to become a new friend.

5) A good story changes each time it's told. 

My love of storytelling was definitely influenced by my grandma's library of stories. She doesn't have an infinite amount of stories, yet every time she tells a story, she's so energized about telling it and she adds new flair, so you forget that it's a story you've been told several times. She reminds me that it's not so much the story itself as it is the storyteller who makes the story unique.

What lessons have you learned from your loved ones?