I spent a beautiful afternoon yesterday with my friend, Lynda Cavanagh, and her husband Dave. Lynda and I have been friends for more than 20 years when we worked together at Scotiabank. I have wonderful memories of going to Lynda’s place for tree trimming, year after year, when Shayne and Sabrina were little. We would decorate her beautiful Christmas tree with strings of popcorn, drink warm apple cider and laugh and talk well into the night. Lynda is a dynamo and was one of my very first role models. I remember saying to Nagib many times,”when I grow up, I want to be just like Lynda”. 20 years later, I still feel that way.
It’s not that we have the same interests or priorities. In fact, we are quite different in the way we live and approach life. Yet there is something that binds and connects us through time and space. What draws me to Lynda is her being, her spirit and her human-ness. She is also quite incorrigible and has a “can do” attitude about life. Lynda and Dave have travelled to many parts of the globe, from Africa to Russia. And when they travel they do it like the locals; getting to know people, visiting their homes, living amongst the Masai in Africa. To them, life is not a spectator sport; it is a gift to be experienced and cherished; it is an adventure, and they are active participants. They live in the front row of life.
Over time, Lynda and Dave moved away from Toronto and our visits with them became less frequent. When I was diagnosed with cancer, I called Lynda to let her know. Cancer was the gift that brought Lynda and Dave back into my life and now, it is as if we had never been apart. We just caught up and continued and the years just melted.
Let me tell you why I adore my friend Lynda. She took up fencing in her mid 60’s. Yes, fencing – the martial art of fighting with blades, wearing all that white garb! She did that for 4 years. This year, she took on the art of woodworking because she thought it would be fun. She plays Bridge regularly. She is Past President of a charitable organization that raises funds to support local events for the community, including children and seniors. She golfs twice a week. And for her 70th birthday next year, she is planning to participate in the Camino de Santiago, where she will walk 25 kilometres a day for 30 days in Spain. Her reason for doing this? Adventure, time for reflection and seeing Spain in a unique way. Did I mention that she still works 3 days a week?
Seeing Lynda and Dave together is a treat. They are dramatically different. Dave is the planner, the logical thinker, the practical one. I asked him what was the secret of their relationship. I had expected to hear the usual answer of communication or respect. He surprised me by saying that “the key to a successful marriage is helping the other person in the relationship to be successful”. I am going to make this a conscious part of my own relationship with Nagib. And then of course Lynda chimed in, as she would, to say it is always kissing the other person when you leave the house, even if it’s to get groceries. Nagib, be forewarned!
As a coach, one of the tools that I use with my clients is a guided imagery to introduce them to their “future self”. This is who they are at their very best 5 or 10 years from today. Who they are without doubt, fear or self-imposed limits. From this lens, I encourage them to design their current life so that it is in alignment with their highest and best future self. After spending time with Lynda and Dave this week, I am inspired to do this activity myself and to look to my future self for guidance on what is right and true for me, and the path I want to embody from a place of possibilities.