10 things I want to tell Ouma (before I turn 30)


I have nowhere near as much experience, knowledge and wisdom to give my grandmother advice that is as credible as the advice she’s given me, but in response to her Ten things I wish my grandchildren would stop doing article, perhaps I can put her mind at ease on a few things:

Stop smoking

There is nothing I can say here to justify why I should or haven’t stopped smoking yet. I’ve cut down considerably (which is still not good enough, I know). As much as I want to do it so that the people who care about me will stop nagging about it, mostly I want to do it for me and not for anyone else. I wish I'd listened to you when you told me never to start. 

Stop trying to please a man

I've had my fair share of bad relationships. I've always put my partner's needs before mine, not because I expected the same in return, but because I liked to believe that it was enough to keep the other person happy with me. Now that I'm older I look at other women who are miserably stuck in relationships and marriages like this and I realise that it's not something I want to keep doing. You did everything for Oupa, but you still had your own back and that's how you've come out even stronger since his passing. I hope to be half as brave as you have been. 

Don't look for a Barbie doll

"One day you might need someone to do your thinking for you and gorgeous eyelashes won’t help much." 

With that being directed at the male part of our family, of which I'm not, I'll have you know that some of my friends come across as the 'Barbie doll' type, but it's really only in appearance. They're all street-smart, DIY orientated and kick my butt in 30 Seconds. 

Don't ever stop learning

With the amount of information we absorb every day through social media? Don't worry, that won't happen. Actually it was you who taught me how to use a computer when no one else knew how to yet. But sometimes it's nice to do something that stimulates our hearts and souls, rather than just the great brains we inherited from you. 

Stop being afraid

This is something I've been working on all my life. For me, the fear of the unknown often influences the decisions I make. I like to play it safe and know exactly what to expect before I make a choice. But I don't live in a bubble that forces me to stay indoors all day or never meet new people or visit new places because of my fears. My keen sense of adventure and zest for life (I'm sure I get this from you) keeps me busy and ambitious without being impulsive. 

No family is ever perfect and ours is definitely not

I guess it's all about perspective. I have friends who don't know who their real parents are and friends who've had to hide every part of their life from their parents. And then I have friends who come from a stable, functional family environment where kids are kids and parents are parents. Where the parents still support them financially and emotionally and where no one has had to check their mother into rehab or hospital for severe addictions or illnesses. I never expect anyone to really understand the dynamics of our family but when I try open up to tell these friends about my family and they respond with "no family is ever perfect" (as if that makes everything easier) I want to scream. 

Please don't put cryptic messages on Facebook

Don't you hate that? Those passive-aggressive indirect status updates that are clearly directed at a specific person or group of people? *Unfriend.  

Pouting lips and duck faces

Guilty. I'm working on this. That and sticking my tongue out is something I admittedly do when I really don't want to fake a smile. That's the only real explanation I can give for that one. 

Facebook stalking potential partners

I recently went on a few dates with someone and happened to mention his name to Dad, because while I'm living at home again, Dad likes to know exactly who I'm with and when. I don't mind telling him because I know that if I'm ever in trouble for whatever reason at least Dad would know who I was with. A few days after disclosing this guy's name to Dad I noticed that Dad and this person had become Facebook friends. Neither of them have ever met and I've really only seen this person two or three times. Cringe. 

I love you

Cliché, I know but it's something I don't think I tell you often enough.

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

What advice do you have for your grandparents or grandchildren? Send us your comment to chatback@parent24.com.

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