No matter how busy my life can be, I can never give up the sacred ritual of my morning swim.
I may have pulled an all-nighter delivering a baby but I’ll still get to my favourite community centre and swim my 2 km. It is my second home because it grounds me for whatever the new day presents.
The greatest joys I have discovered there are some of my deepest friendships. I’ve met fellow swimmers of all ages and all stages of life. They come from all parts of the world, from the manifold cultures of Burnaby.
We chat, joke and reflect on the weather, the news and our families. My friends swim in the slow, medium and fast lanes. Some don’t swim at all – they go straight to the sauna and hot tub, or they just walk in the shallow pool.
One of my best friends is Gordon Poppy, and he is my role model for joyful living.
He greets everyone with a smile and a kind word, and even in retirement, he is completely engaged in life. An artist and photographer, he sees the beauty in nature and in life and he helps us all see that beauty with his photography and stories of his family.
I’ve learned so much about the history of Vancouver from his stories, and I’ve gained a new appreciation for our shared connection with the almost forgotten past of our communities.
He speaks so lovingly of his wife, children and grandchildren that it helps me appreciate the special connection I have with my own family. Through him, I have faith that my most important relationships will grow even deeper and more meaningful as we mature together if I like Gordon continue to make them my priority in life and remember what matters most.
His long life has been filled with the great challenges and losses that we must all meet but his faith in the grace of God and goodness of this life sustains him and inspires everyone who knows him.
Your happiness exercise for today: Who are your role models for living the good life? If you don’t have one, look around you. Though people like Gordon are one in a million, they are easy to spot because they stand out in the crowd. They can be of any age and every culture. Their joyful gentle presence illuminates for the rest of us the best that life can give.