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Blog: Monday, October 26th, 2020

Milestones and Making Memories

This month I celebrated a milestone birthday – Sixty! Strangely enough, except for all the celebrations going around me, it didn’t feel much different than the day before—at 59. Then all these FB photos from the past 10 years started showing up and I got to see how much more active and fit I was before, and how much MORE I seem to enjoy lounging around.  It’s not that I’m doing nothing…I actually went surfing in Tofino twice in the same day (sunrise & sunset), and that’s pretty exhausting. It’s just that I'm finding other things more interesting than running for two hours.

Gardening is one of those things. After a day of talking it up (or calming them down) with students, parents and staff, putting your hands into the soil and weeding is quite the therapy session on a Friday Afternoon. Kids love pulling weeds with me, especially when they get to throw it into a pile that someone else picks up. Planting tulips is a fun activity, and we get to see beautiful tulips in the Spring.  Tomatoes are an annual pleasure we get to harvest all Fall, as well as the other vegetable experiments we started in the Spring.  It’s all about getting back to our farming roots, and getting into rhythm with the seasons. There’s very little stress watching a sunflower grow.  If you find me in the Mt. Lehman greenhouse this winter, I’m probably looking for my reflective quiet place.

Taking pictures is another one of those things.  I was always fascinated by photography, including having my own darkroom and spending hours breathing in Developer,Stop Bath & Fixer—and probably as healthy as an asbestos dinner jacket. I must have gone through a half dozen cameras, from black & white, to colour, to slide, to digital.  Lugging a 2 kilo camera with telephoto lens up a mountain top for a single photo was normal.  Waiting hours for the perfect shot was also normal, because you only had 36 to use.  Now I do about 95 percent of my photos off an old iPhone that can hold 10,000 photos.  The photos aren’t better, but the purpose of the photo has changed, and resolution is not as important when it’s almost always going to end up online. So now I look for quirky and fun.  Making people smile when they see themselves is always important. Being able to laugh at yourself is doubly important.

Cycling. I restarted my cycling career about 50 years after I first learned to ride, jumping onto a Canadian Tire cycle-cross bike that I got in an end-of-the-season sale.  It cost the same as my first bike 50 years ago, and reminded me of my first days of cycling, and how my world opened up as a 10 year old.  When you walk, the world is within six blocks of home; when you cycle, all of the sudden the world grows a hundred-fold.  Dark shoulder length hair blowing in the wind as you ride your chopper bike proudly around the neighbourhood. My brother & I quickly started planning day trips out of the neighbourhood, across town, around Stanley Park or UBC, with a lunch bag and $2.  As long as you were home by dinner, nobody worried where you were. Innocent times.  I ride & reconnect with old friends now, and we love to meet new people, and find new places all the time. The hair on my head doesn’t blow in the wind anymore—it’s shorter and whiter, but I’m wearing a safety helmet anyways. A bag lunch and $2 has been replaced by a cell phone and a charge card. Because when you’re as old as me, you want to enjoy every moment with a selfie photo as you sip the specialty coffee, and then remember what it was to have enough hair to have it blow in the wind.

Ah, the serenity.