Never too late to learn

The best thing about my job is when I get to be inspired by people’s stories.

The best thing about my job is when I get to be inspired by people’s stories, and I also love the fact that I am able to share these stories with you.

Last week I interviewed Linda Saugstad, a determined 67-year-old who’s preparing for a 250-km bike ride from Vancouver to Seattle to raise money for cancer research (her story is on page 12).

Maybe I should also mention that just last year she was walking with two canes, trying to recover from a hip replacement surgery.

By the way, she’s not too worried about this ride. She’s ridden her bike from Burns Lake to San Francisco by herself in the past. She’s also ridden from Burns Lake to Prince Rupert and she’s done every possible route from Burns Lake to Vancouver (and those were only a few of the rides she mentioned to me).

When I asked her what she’s learned over the years biking solo (because you can’t really bike by yourself from Burns Lake to San Francisco without learning something), she said she learned what safety really means.

“Safety is not about locks and doors, safety is about intuition, knowing your surroundings and paying attention,” she said confidently. “If you lock your doors and you’re oblivious to the noise outside or what is going on around you, you are no safer than if the door was unlocked.”

I thought this was really interesting because when we are growing up, our parents (or at least mine) make the case that you are safe if you have a steady job, lots of money in the bank, a house and someone to look after you.

Although most people hang on that belief throughout their lives, clinging to anything that makes them feel safe – whether it be a relationship, a job or a city -, others realize that nothing you have really makes you safe.

People who built a life and thought they were safe in Fort McMurray would probably agree with this.

So I thought it was interesting that Saugstad learned this lesson while biking because I think it can apply to anything in our lives.

What makes you safe is your ability to handle adversity and your ability to sense what the next step should be.

What was also inspiring was Saugstad’s commitment to start biking long distances after she turned 50.

The reality is that many of us tend to think it’s too late to start doing things (even I think that, and I haven’t even turned 30). The truth is that it’s never too late to learn something new. And maybe it’s never too late to change careers or start over. Specially now that people are living longer, having more than one career throughout your life is becoming the norm.

With people living longer, we are also making more plans for our lives and finding ways to live longer while maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Saugstad will be doing ‘the ride to conquer cancer’ on Aug. 27-28 and she’s been trying to raise $2500. To make a donation in her name, visit www.conquercancer.ca. Her participant ID is 301370-6. If anyone is unable to donate online, they can contact Saugstad directly at 250-692-0334.