I started this day with a thought challenge to myself: what does success look like for our cross Canada ride? I expected that I would be tossing this around in my head for hours, but with one encounter it all became clear.
Let me back up and explain.
This day was a show of force. Mike joined in on the fun today. He was riding in beast mode and we rode together from Castlegar to Nelson. We rode as a team. The morning ride ended with a long and twisting descent into Nelson. It was thrilling.
We had initially planned to spend the night in Nelson, but plans changed and contorted and reformed until ultimately we planned to meet a friend in Nelson just to say hi. That was why we happened to be standing in the Nelson Riverside Shopping centre beside our RV at the precise moment that Katherine walked by. Katherine was diagnosed with PD a week ago. It was clearly on her mind, as she was carrying an Internet print off of PD facts and a serious expression. She approached us and tremulously asked if we had PD, and explained her recent diagnosis. And there we were, all four of us, in the exact right place and time, buzzing with energy from a fun ride and with time to focus entirely on Katherine.
My impression of Katherine is that she is confused and troubled by her prognosis, without a place to turn to for practical answers; almost identical to how each of us enters this journey. It is a vulnerable time. What happens next can define the attitude that you adopt about life with PD, and all the things that you do or don’t do as a result. I think that Katherine needed to see the effect of staying positive – not read about it or watch a video, but see it so she could assess, question and believe it. Today, she met four people who showed her that an active and positive life is still possible with PD, and she liked it. I think that Katherine has had a solid nudge towards a positive attitude.
So what does success look like? This conversation with Katherine is an example of the sort of interaction that we have been having with people each day. To chance upon conversations with people, especially those who don’t think they’re ready or know where to start, you have to be out there in the open and with a clear invitation to talk. That is what we do each day – all day – and we find ourselves in so many of these conversations. Change may not happen in a day or a single conversation, but it can be a start of a process that can really make a difference. That, my friends, is my idea of success.