“How are you, young man?” he said to me as we were both headed into the gym locker room. We’d said hello from time to time before, and it sure is nice to be called ‘young’ these days. Technically, I am younger than he is; he’s probably in his early 80s, I guessed.
It was the middle of the day, after I had a long stretch of morning get together’s and before two evening meetings. I was taking a mental health break, so to speak; the very best kind. He was in there as he normally is at that hour, or at least he’s there whenever I’m there mid-day.
“I’m fine,” I responded, pleasantry to pleasantry. “How are you?”
“Oh, I’ll be much better an hour from now!” he said, grinning.
It is kind of funny, I thought. He’s certainly retired, certainly done with needing to keep up appearances, certainly able to sit back and coast for a long, long time. He can do whatever he wants to do, can’t he? In fact, he doesn’t need to do anything, let alone push his body and get his heart rate up for nearly sixty minutes.
But he does. He may not like it – “…I’ll be better an hour from now,” he said – but he’s doing it, still, and keeping it up. Good for him. Honestly, I’d like to be like him when I find a few more gray hairs on my already salty salt-and-pepper head, although I fear that I’ll still find plenty of excuses not to go to the gym, not to push myself, not to keep it up.
There’s something to be said for my friend at the gym, the kind of character like that tortoise in that well-known fable: he keeps going, no matter what. He may not like it all the time, he may wish he were doing other things, and no one is forcing him to be physically healthy and well. And, yet, he keeps going, keeps working, keeps doing it.