Thoughts on Turning 60

Kim facing left

This is the day I hit the 60 mark. I seem to have arrived here remarkably quickly. I’m very happy to be here. Each day there are many new things to learn and each day there is much to contribute. There is a very satisfying balance between challenge, curiosity and contentment. I’m unbelievably healthy and mobile and count my blessings each day, as I have not always treated my body as a temple. I have excellent friends and family and am very appreciative to have them in my life.

I offered to help a lovely and elderly lady with her recycling and garbage the other day. She declined with a smile and said, “I do everything a little slower than I used to, but I still like to do everything.”

I chuckled and replied, “I’m on the same path. Just a few steps behind.”

She smiled even more broadly and quipped, “It sure beats the alternative.”

We both laughed, bid each other adieu and carried on with our days. I really enjoy those random moments of connection and laughter and look forward to actively seeking them out at every opportunity.

East Kootenay Rendezvous #28

I recently returned from a 3 day rendezvous with 8 longtime friends. For 28 years, we have been gathering in the East Kootenays once a year to celebrate our friendship, catch up with each others lives, engage in divergent political, cultural and social debate, laugh and golf. The number of attendees over the years has ranged from 8 to 16. Our common bond is having been employed by the Calgary YMCA. Over the years there have been a couple of exceptions, but overall this is the root common denominator.

I have known all of these guys for a period of time ranging from 30 to 45 years. Knowing them, and continuing to know them, has cultivated and sustained both my resilience and my emotional intelligence. We have shared a multitude of life experiences and depending on our ages and stages, we have been able to articulate with varying degrees of clarity and depth what our current realities have been and where our dreams lay. There have been joinings and partings in our lives, births and deaths, successes and failures. Our lives have ebbed and flowed as lives do. We know a lot about each other and continue to learn more. We contribute to each others lifelong learning. I feel most fortunate indeed to have the continued pleasure to gather with these true life characters from my time on the planet. Each of the relationships and the sum total of our relationships is nurturing and empowering.

My heartfelt thanks to all of you and that includes those who could not attend this year. You were missed, but you know you were included in the laughter and the reminiscences. I already look forward to seeing you all next year.

Set The Bar Higher

Here’s a great TED talk on work/life balance. Enjoy and reflect.

Walking the Talk

I recently spent a few days in Vancouver training with The Coaches Training Institute. It feels invigorating and very satisfying to have been in the role of learner for a few days. Lifelong learning is a fun and generationally correct (for me) item to converse about, but I feel I may not have been placing myself in learning situations enough in the last few years. Easier to espouse than to do. Seventeen of us spent a lot of time in the same room over the course of 3 days and we learned a lot about each other and ourselves. It was enlightening, emotional at times, clumsy, profound and so damn satisfying, I can’t wait to do it again soon. I want to thank every one of the participants and each of the trainers for a wonderful learning experience.

Happy New Year Everyone

I’m going to start the new year off with a humorous story about my Dad. Dad is 81 and lives in Calgary with his lovely wife, Ida. I live in Victoria. We have coffee together 3 or 4 times a week. Our visits happen courtesy of Skype video and I feel blessed by modern technology in this regard. To be able to have regular face to face contact with my Dad is wonderful. If you would like to read about how this all came about, you can go to The Emotional Intelligence Training Company website’s blog and read Remaining Connected.

In the beginning of December, shortly after cleaning my own Macbook, I asked my Dad how often he cleaned their laptop. He told me he cleaned it with a microfibre cloth about once a week. I told him he had been looking a bit fuzzy on my screen over the past couple of weeks and it seemed to be getting worse. He replied,”I’ll give it a thorough cleaning once we finish our chat today.”

We hung up after another 10 minutes or so. I was doing the dishes when I heard the familiar Skype ring and saw my Dad was calling me. I clicked on answer and up popped my Pops in incredible clarity. He saw the look on my face and said, “Am I any clearer?” I replied that it was the clearest I had ever seen him. He laughed and said, ”As I began to clean the computer, I could feel something protruding from the top, where the camera is and I peeled off a little circle of clear plastic. It had obviously been covering the lens from the time we unwrapped our new machine.” They had purchased the computer about 5 months earlier.

We both had a very good belly laugh together. Honestly, it was to the point of tears in the eyes. We then parted company again, confident in having new clarity in our future.

Writing towards Change

I encourage people I work with to journalize. In a fast paced world, we often don’t have time to contemplate in a reflective manner how our life is going. Intentionally setting aside the time daily to jot down our thoughts can be the first step in recapturing valuable personal time. Many of us hurtle from one life event to another from the time we rise until it is time to collapse into bed. It is not an emotionally intelligent approach, but one which seems necessary. Keeping a journal can help give us perspective on patterns in our life – both good and bad. Really seeing these patterns is the pre-requisite to changing what we want to change.

I’ve discovered a great little program called FocusWriter which is a simple and elegant word processing program for those of us who have given up on jotting. Give it a look and a try and let me know what you think.

Emotionally Intelligent Civic Politics

Naheed Nenshi becomes the Mayor of Calgary today. What a great way for Calgary to make the news all over North America. Chastised for being totally Conservative, if not downright redneck, Calgary shows its true maverick (not to be confused with the Sarah Palin branding of this word) character and becomes the first city in Canada to elect an urban and urbane professional, who just also happens to be a Muslim and a longtime Calgarian.

I have viewed a number of interviews with Naheed and have been impressed with his emotionally intelligent approach to the importance of, and the need to change how civic politics are conducted. I look forward to seeing how he progresses in his first year on the job.

Ideas are good

Ideas are good. Never underestimate a good idea. And for every good idea there’s a few bad ones. And for every idea that’s perfected, there’s several that are incomplete. In fact, no perfect idea was ever born that way. That’s partly why incomplete ideas are so important.

In the days and months ahead I will use this space to consider and give voice to many incomplete ideas. And most of them will have something to do with resilience coaching.

Thank you for joining me. Check back regularly.

Kim Cairns