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What I Recently Learned from my Grandfather

Recently, I got the chance to visit my grandfather. One night he decided he wanted to teach my brothers and me how to waltz. At first thought, this seemed very random. However, there’s a reason behind it.


My grandfather and grandmother used to ballroom dance and competed in competitions. I never saw any of them because I was too young at the time, but I’ve heard stories, and they were pretty great. My grandmother sadly passed away in 2021 and had been sick for a while with Parkinson’s. This prevented them from dancing, so it had been a long time since my grandfather had formally danced. I honestly thought he had “retired” and was not going to pursue it anymore. After all, he is 87 and he lost his dance partner.


When we came to visit this year, the last thing I expected was for him to say he had started going to dance classes again. I was shocked. I was even more surprised when he said he wanted to teach us how to waltz. I thought maybe he was kidding but he was serious. He turned on some music and on his own with no partner started showing us what he already knew and had been practicing in his classes. Then, he invited me to dance with him. It was one of the most special moments I’ve ever had. We luckily got several videos that I will cherish.


But, those videos are not the only thing I will take away from this experience. The biggest takeaway I realized is that it truly is never too late to go after your dreams or follow your passions. I know it might sound corny, but it’s true. My grandfather is 87 and still is pursuing something that he loves. He could have given up on his dream/passion. He had every reason to stop; his age, less mobility, and he lost his dance partner. But instead, he kept pursuing what he loves, which is dancing. He didn’t give up. He persevered and he’s doing what he loves.


I think we can all learn from this. It’s never too late to do what you love. There are always opportunities to follow your dreams, so go after them! I learned so much from this experience. One thing that I learned is that really anything is possible. I mean, if my 87-year-old grandfather can waltz and still have his love for dancing, I feel like we can all achieve whatever we set our minds to. As long as we believe in ourselves and don’t give up, anything is possible. Follow your dreams because it’s worth it for the joy you will feel. Dreams and passions are so important and worth pursuing. So take this as a reminder to believe in yourself and that nothing is impossible!

Mary James

Gettysburg '23

Gettysburg College '23 WGS Major Education and English Minor Coffee Connoisseur