Often young people have ideals they wish to strive for; some of which have substance that can be achieved with the right balance of passion, dedication and savvy, while others are nonsensical, like going on X-Factor just to be famous rather than to sing and do what they love. In the lives of many millennials, it is a grueling task to even get your foot in the door, explaining how much they want to be given the chance to expand their skills and knowledge but often being told that they need experience, to get experience. We all want to live meaningful lives; fully utilizing our talents so our story can be told with no regrets in our old age or when we are gone. It is especially hard for young people to recognize their potential when they’re starting out and facing life’s changing directions. But as much as we are encouraged to THINK BIG, we can sometimes overlook the smaller things that make our lives significant.

My family and I are presently mourning the passing of my gran, and during this sad time I have acknowledged how much impact she’s had in my life – certain memories might sound boring and insignificant in someone else’s eyes but those are the moments I remember the most. Like when I was a kid we’d take regular visits to the Isle of Arran to visit friends, see the wildlife and appreciate the beautifully lush scenery there; she kept my old drawings of Arran and birds too. Or going on our annual Christmas ventures; one which springs to mind was the Ferris Wheel in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh when I found out midway through the ride that she was scared of heights. Up until recently, she was very spritely and liked trying out new experiences.

But what I’ll remember most is her generosity of spirit; demonstrated in the many friendships she developed with folks from all around the globe and from whom she regularly received visits, postcards and letters. So many will remember her for her kindness and joie de vivre! She gave me the motivation these last few years when I struggled to find a job (especially in graphic design) telling me to keep trying and be more open to taking chances; “life’s more fun that way”! And I was quite overwhelmed when I came-out to her – as with all my family and friends I always had the worry “would they still like me?” but my gran told me straightaway, that she loved me, and only wants me to be happy.

I am going to miss her profoundly. Her story is part of mine and her example is my ideal. These little moments, can make the difference in someone’s life. Things like chatting over coffee, messaging on Facebook, saying sorry for something that has been said or even unsaid! These small acts of compassion define who we are, so ‘keep your chin up’ as my gran would say and as much as you should strive for your dreams, just remember and cherish those who matter to you. They are as much an influence in your story as you are.