I was here.

Grandpa Ryan, Age 99. 2007

I am sure everyone has seen it by now, but it was only today that I watched Beyonce’s new “I was Here” video.  It has it’s flaws, but I genuinely liked it.

The video premiered on World Humanitarian Day, which was August 19th.
I volunteer.  I don’t have money to donate, so I donate my time.  But clearly, you don’t have to be volunteering to be part of something great.  This video really had me sitting back and taking a look at my life.

They always say that one gets more back when than they give while volunteering.  Super cheesy, but it’s true.  There have been many people in my life that I have touched my life while volunteering, but one man sticks out in particular.

His name was Grandpa Ryan, he was my ‘Grandpa’ during my home-stay in Dominica while I was in the Peace Corps.
He was 99 in 2007.  That’s a long life to acquire wisdom.  Grandpa Ryan ran the propane gas sales for our village, did the math by hand and walked to the bank almost every day.  He asked me questions, nothing was off-limits.  He ate local foods, and would show me how to eat the foods that I wasn’t familiar with.  Such as breadnut.   I never saw him eat anything that was processed.  He also ate when he wanted.  If he wasn’t hungry, he would just not eat.  If he was hungry at midnight, he ate at midnight.  He played the banjo and taught me how to play the scale.  He attempted to explain the rules of cricket to me.  He went to church when he wanted to.  He took naps when it got too hot out.  He never got upset over stupid things and always took his time.

Lessons learned from Grandpa Ryan:

  • Get out and move.  Use your brain.  Talk to people.
  • Eat when you want.  Eating real food is healthier, always.
  • Do what you feel is best for you.
  • Gently and graciously teach those that ask.
  • Learn as much as you can and share your experiences.
  • Be passionate about what makes you happy.
  • See the humanity in every situation.
  • Be patient.

So, thank you to everyone that makes this world a better place.  Thank you to Beyonce, who lead me to this moment of reflection.  Thank you, Grandpa Ryan, You Were There.

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