Last month my grandpa, Hassan Goljahmofrad, celebrated his 87th birthday; almost nine decades of life. He beat the odds and lived longer than most get to enjoy. But last night he passed away. He went quickly, with one of his sons and two close friend by his side. I’m not writing this to share about his life, though.
I am writing this for your life, and my life.
You see, I didn’t get to meet my paternal grandfather until well into my 20’s. He was born in Iran and lived a beautiful life there. I was born in the United States. His first trip to the US wasn’t too long ago, but when we met, I remember a tight embrace, three traditional kisses on the cheek alternating sides, and a steady stream of compliments in Farsi that my dad had to translate for me. Even in his mid-80’s I could see some of him in my father. It’s funny how genetics are stronger than the effects of time.
The last time I saw him, my wife and I were on a trip to Arizona. We were visiting my family who live in Phoenix. My grandpa was on his third and possibly final trip to the US. The flight from here to Iran isn’t easy for anybody, let alone the elderly. We all drove up to spend the day in Sedona, Arizona.
While waiting for other family members to look around at some shops, I was sitting with my grandpa and my dad. I remember thinking, I want to pick his brain, but it’s been a long day so it can wait until we go to Iran next year. I only sat for a one or two more minutes before I told myself that waiting probably wasn’t the best option. You just never know how things will play out. So, I asked my dad to translate for me while I asked some questions. We spent the next 10-15 minutes in discussion. Looking back, I am grateful for that time. It was just me, my dad, and my grandpa. As beautiful as Sedona is, that was easily my favorite 15-minute increment of that trip.
I asked him a lot of questions and he gave me a lot of answers, but one in particular stood out to me. My favorite question to ask anybody is “In 20 seconds, what’s the best advice you can give me?” So, naturally, I asked him. He didn’t give me a profound, Earth-shattering answer. He didn’t tell me something that changed my thinking or my approach to life. The world didn’t stop when he shared his thought. It was very simply this: Find what makes you happy, truly happy, and do that thing.
Find what makes you happy, truly happy, and do that thing.
Read all the books you want, attend all the seminars, conferences, and trainings you can find, but you’ll never come across more sound advice. Whether you get 7 years or 87 years on this planet, aren’t they best spent being truly happy? I know the answer, you know the answer, but we don’t always live the answer.
So why did I say I am writing this for you and me? Two things:
My grandpa and I did not have speak the same language, yet he still taught me something about life. Sharing it with you brings some comfort in knowing that his truths will continue to be spread even as he is laid to rest. As Rumi said it, “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” Easier said than done, but Hassan Goljahmofrad was a man who contributed to the world, and through his words, he will continue to do so.
Don’t wait. Be happy.