Nain’s Advice

Nain is the Welsh word for grandmother. My Nain’s name is Gwenda Thain. She was born on this day in 1922. In honour of her birthday, I’d like to share some of the advice she’s given me, while she and my mother have been visiting us in London.

I’ve had a pen and paper beside me all week recording down these little gems, so here is her advice to me, in her own words:

-Be honest with yourself and follow your convictions.

-You’ve got to keep your own council. No one knows what I’m up to at any time.

-When I have a confrontation I smile a lot.

-Over time a relationship becomes easier. You grow kinder toward one another and make more allowances.

-Collect garbage if that makes you happy; it doesn’t matter what people think.

-Whenever there is a problem and people are inquiring you just smile and say, “I’m fine.” They don’t need to know.

-Listen carefully to anyone who gives you advice.

-You’re got to face things straight on, or they’ll still be there like a cancer

-If they ask you if you can do it, say you can. In 1963, they asked us, “Can anyone use a comptometer?” I told them I knew how. They’ll always show you once anyway. Just watch closely.

-Education is the most important thing in life for anybody. With education you can conquer the world.

-Timothy, be strong for yourself. You haven’t walked 31 years of your life for nothing.

-You’ve got to love yourself. That is important.

-Don’t go second rate on anything.

And then I loved this part. I read this out loud to my Nain, to make sure I had written everything down accurately and my mom was listening in. My mom added her own advice: “…and don’t tell lies.” “Oh no,” her mom corrected her, “You’ve got to lie if it suits the world!”

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