What My Nana Taught Me About Life and Dating

My Nana was a bold woman. Hmm. That doesn't fit. A bag of Habanero Doritos is bold. What if you lit that same bag of Doritos on fire, strapped it to the back of Evel Knieval and made him jump a blazing nuclear silo that was also hosting the Middle East Peace talks? That's just ridiculous; that's too much!!! YOU CAN'T HAVE THAT MUCH AWESOME AT ANY ONE PLACE AT ANY GIVEN TIME. The world just can't handle it; there's just not enough f*cking room for all of it! Now, if you take a step back; took a moment to look at this collection of awesome and life defying kick assery you'd see a woman; an amazing woman who I was lucky enough to call my “Nana.”I lost my grandmother over a year ago after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease, which was complicated by Diabetes and Breast Cancer. I mean, really, don't feel bad. She did everything BIG! As her condition worsened she began to forget a great many things… Including me and my face. She was a stubborn woman, too. So stubborn that, even in her worst forgetful stages she'd piece together her memory and be fully cognizant, if only for a moment in time; she would ask: “What's wrong with me? What's wrong with my mind? My memories…” I knew that she was still fighting, bitterly so, even if her condition was trying to make her “give.” She wouldn't and it was because “quit” was incomprehensible, much like drinking a large glass of molten lava. You just don't do it; it's crazy!

When I realized our conversations were never going to be the same, I learned to let go. I began to mourn the loss of the woman I knew for a lifetime…

Yes, I was sad at first, but I recalled the many things that she taught me about myself; about life and just about living in this damn world to begin with. The first thing she taught me was self love. This was probably the most difficult lesson to master and it's something I struggle with from time to time; to a degree I believe we all struggle with loving ourselves. After all are we not our own worst critics? It's easy to bash ourselves. “Mijo, if you don't do it, how the f*ck else do you expect anyone else to,” she once barked to me over the phone. She was right. I didn't realize how right she was until I managed to throw myself into relationship after relationship with girls that didn't give a damn about me… It was a pattern. I turned the focus on me. I stopped reaching to validate my worth through someone else… I learned to “be okay” with this lug of flesh.

My Nana once told me about strength. Sometimes strength is being able to lift something heavy and move it out of the way. This is the easiest strength to master. Sometimes strength is being there for someone when they need you most; sometimes strength is saying “I don't know and I need help.” That's the most difficult strength to master… Poignant, right? Well, I always chuckle when I remember her saying “Oh, and sometimes it takes even greater strength to shut your damn mouth when no one's talking to you!!”

Find ways to express yourself. My grandmother, Nana, was amazing artist; simply amazing. The only thing I asked for when she passed was a drawing or a sketch of hers. She nurtured my creative side and helped me develop it. It's the one thing that I can point to and say that THAT part of me is the embodiment of my Nana; my grandmother. No one can take that away from me… Except for me. She always encouraged me to nurture that creativity and she did that with others, too. It's why I give stupid little art lessons at work; it's why I encourage my girlfriend to write. It's why I have this blog… Express yourself: Yell, scream, kick, paint, draw, write… DO SOMETHING!

Lastly, my grandmother told me that being happy wasn't just being with someone; it's being with someone and being together. That is, two strong individuals, who are whole, make each other complete. Cliche? Sure, but because my Nana said it, it's golden to me.

Thanks for everything. Especially the Turtle.

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Alex is the founder and managing editor at the Urban Dater. Alex also runs: DigiSavvy, for which he is the co-founder and Principal. Alex has a lot on his mind. Will he ever get it right? If he does, he'll be sure to write.

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  1. This is an especially difficult post for me to read being as I buried my Nana (great grandmother) today. She was my favorite relative & the one who has inspired me the most. I am more like her than anyone in my family. She taught me many similar lessons in her own stubborn, bold, matter of fact way. Nana's tend to do that. All that you said are true & valuable life lessons. My Nana taught me four valuable life lessons. 1. Keep the jewelry & stay friends when you break up. 2. No one will stand up for you so stand up for yourself. 3. Scotch can cure anything. Even the loss of a great love. 4. You will fall in love many times. But marry your best friend cause then you'll have everything.

    1. I would have liked to have met her, Taylor. She sounded like the penultimate classy dame, just like her granddaughter. I'm so sorry for your loss, dear.

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