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Is it ever too late? Part 2

by Ana Wang

July 04, 2015


I think it's easier to give ourselves the liberty to learn and experiment right out of college, where there few responsibilities. I have this year officially entered the period where you can't say I'm a recent graduate, not by any stretch, which explains my recent and sudden all-consuming urge to go back to school to reclaim the title of newbie in life, a place where I feel comfortable with experimentation. 

But then I think about my grandma, who was an artist. In her 90s, she still made time every week to take lessons with another painter, even though my grandma was herself very accomplished and certainly didn't need any lessons. And there they sat for hours until we came to pick her up. And there she would go every single week until she passed away at the age of 92. 

I've always known this about my grandma from my dad's side, but it wasn't until a few months ago when I noticed the same with my grandma from my mom's side, who has been in and out of the hospital as of late dealing with breast cancer. I'm not sure at what age I deemed the elderly to be too old to be interested in changing culture and frivolities of the times, and I certainly didn't peg my quiet but quirky grandma to be interested in anything other than baking and Taiwanese dramas, but one day, while aiding my grandpa into bed after he had fractured his neck, I noticed a stack of scrapbooks by the bedside: thick, organized, full of clippings from newspapers and magazines, mostly fashion and lifestyle stories. Of course, they weren't Vogue or anything, just whatever I suspected she could get her hands on to quench her thirst for fashion in the way that she knew how. So there I was, standing in front of a whole archive of what's been in style for the last few years, finally seeing my grandma as a person, probably more like me than I ever thought before. It really blew my mind. (Of course my grandma doesn't clip coupons. Why did I think she did?)

I didn't even know my grandma liked fashion, let alone kept up with it to the point where it was physically evident that she had quite an obsession for this thing that is by nature always changing. I wondered about that obsession, whether it was the same as mine. Oh god, we even have the same scrapbooks, I realized. 

All of a sudden, I understood her inclination whenever I came over to hand over a stack of whatever came in the mail that week as reading material - which then made me understand my own inclination towards fashion magazines. Where did that come from?Now I know. She did it again last time I visited a week ago, and instead of brushing it off, I took them and smiled.

Isn't it weird how we generalize people according to the thing that we so easily can generalize them by, that we gloss over the idea that everyone is really a human being underneath it all? 

If she grew up now, she'd be blogging up a storm. I won't try to explain to her with blogging is, but I suspect that she'd understand fine.

TL;DR: It's never too late to learn, to be interested, to engage in the world in a way that inspires you. The rest? It depends. But the first part is really fun either way.

So with that, I'm heading forward, all hands on deck. It might be too late to be 21 again, but it's never too late to be a newb.

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