Lynda Reid was born on the outskirts of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the northernmost city in North America with a million or more people. Edmonton isn’t exactly the frozen tundra, but there are grizzly bears a stone’s throw beyond—and a spectacular display of nature’s beauty at her finest.
Dad and Mom were both educators; Mom’s stories of a taking horse-drawn sleigh on the way to teach at a one-room schoolhouse, and it tipping over in the deep snow, resonated with Reid. But that was long before Edmonton, and long before Reid and her two sisters were born.
In school, it was theater and student council that floated her boat. Cast as Puck in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, she slayed. Her involvement in student council put her at all the school events, and her drama teacher encouraged her to audition for drama school at the University of Alberta.
She was having a ball. So much so, in fact, that she had to repeat her senior year to bring up her grades.
Reid recalled that second senior year fondly. “I went to a different high school, got involved, and had the best math teacher I ever had in my life,” she said. She was also in the apprentice acting company at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre.
The following year, after all that preparation, she had that audition at the University of Alberta drama school—but didn’t get accepted. That had to hurt, I said, but Reid shrugged me off with a smile. “I wasn’t unfamiliar with failure,” she said. “I didn’t learn to read until my second year of junior high.” Even so, Reid was the first girl in her family to earn her degree, and she became an educator.
“I taught every level of education, from elementary all the way through graduate-school programs,” she said proudly, and rightly so. She taught social studies, English and physical-education science. “I was a consultant … working with first-year teachers. I did that for four years before I went into high schools. Then I realized I always wanted to live and work in another country, and I took spring break in Tortola,” one of the British Virgin Islands.
We’ll get tropical with her in a minute, but a few threads in her tapestry are loose. Reid met a man named George, but the relationship did not last. That story has the makings of a Noah Baumbach screenplay—a slice of life with large, hard lessons. Still, Reid said she has no regrets.
Reid couldn’t get car insurance, because “separated women are more emotional than separated men,” she recalled the agent saying. (Reid and I were born the same year, and my father had to co-sign for a credit card for me in the 1970s, because they didn’t give them to “the weaker sex.”)
OK, now we’re back in the Caribbean with Reid—specifically, on a ship.
“I discovered these tall ships that traveled through the Caribbean, a Windjammer, the ‘Flying Cloud,’” she said. ”I fell in love with the ship and the islands and someone on the ship. I went back many times.”
Romances on the high seas often end up shipwrecks on dry land, and so it was for Reid and the bartender. But as always, she found the lesson.
“I realized it wasn’t him; I was in love with” the British Virgin Islands. So she followed her heart. “The woman who was the ground agent for the Windjammer said, ‘There’s this little private school here, and they’re looking for teachers.’”
It was a tip of the hat to her mother’s past (without the snow)—a very small school in Tortola where she taught expats’ kids and belongers (those born on the island) until 1997, when she met Alan, a professor of sociology from Vermont who was on sabbatical. They became, as she puts it, playmates. It didn’t take her too long to figure out there was a there there, so she moved to Vermont and took a teaching position. They dated until 2000, when they married on a beach in Curaçao where “the coral comes right up to the boardwalk.”
Now that her personal life was sorted, and because higher education is Vermont’s No. 1 industry, Reid went back to school. OK, that industry bit is not true, but Vermont does have 27 colleges, if not more, including the prestigious University of Vermont, which they call the “public Ivy”—and it’s where Reid earned her doctorate in education.
She then created a “culture for study abroad program” for the university and recruited students for three years … and then Alan got cancer. He went into remission; however, when they returned from a “cancer free” celebration in Tortola, he was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive, T-cell lymphoma that required a bone-marrow transplant.
And then came Irma. It was 2017, and the hurricane “absolutely obliterated” their paradise island; Reid’s Vermont job concurrently came to a natural conclusion. It was around this time that a friend of Reid’s told her about life coaching. She found a program based on neuroscience that intrigued her, and she got certified.
“Within a year, I started my own coaching business,” she said. “And in the last two years, I have been part of the Positive Intelligence coach grant program.” It helps you recognize your saboteurs, and how to listen to your sage instead. Reid’s clients are in Canada, across the U.S., in Great Britain, and in the Caribbean.
In 2018, she and Alan moved to Palm Springs, where we keep the heat and the old movie stars. They’re big fans of both.
Reid has faced each obstacle head on, and she seems to have accepted each as a lesson, as opposed to seeing herself as life’s victim—even while in the moment. She has achieved the highest degree possible from a prestigious university, sailed the Caribbean, never gave up on love, found it, and instinctively turned “failures” into learning experiences. That alone puts Reid in badass country, but add in that she’s also an author, has given a Ted Talk and has picked a niche near and dear to my heart.
“I love coaching women: leaders, entrepreneurs leading their own way, or women who are ready to get out of their own way,” she said.
For more information, visit drlyndareid.com.
The Girl Club: Meet Lynda Reid, a Teacher, Traveler and Life Coach Who’s Always Accepted Obstacles as Life Lessons is a story from Coachella Valley Independent, the Coachella Valley’s alternative news source.