I went to my local YMCA last night.
That might seem like a fairly innocuous statement, but my outer thighs would beg to differ. I haven’t worked out in any way, shape, or form in many months. Not really a year, but maybe 9 months.
As I was getting ready to go back to the locker room and change after my workout, I started coughing. Ah, yes. My poor respiratory system is almost as sore as my thighs. It’s weak, you know. It doesn’t take well to things like breathing hard or, say, breathing hard.
The cough followed me into the locker room as a kind of pathetic and exhausted wheeze. When I turned the corner to get to the locker where I had stashed my stuff, there was already a woman where I needed to be, with her stuff spread out all over the only bench. She looked at me as I wheezed, and I joked, “It’s been a while since I’ve been to the gym, and it feels like it.” Then I left the woman to change in peace. I went to the restroom, then scrubbed my hands (don’t gyms just seem like the grossest and dirtiest places you could possibly be?).
As I was leaving the restroom area, the woman came up to me and blocked my path.
“Will you take some advice from someone old enough to be your mother?”
I just stared and nodded, not sure what to expect. Was this going to be another offensive crack from a “well-meaning” stranger about my weight? Doesn’t this lady know I have already lost 35 pounds, and I am still following Weight Watchers? I’m at the GYM, for crying out loud!
She just smiled and said, “Use it or lose it. When I was younger I never cared about exercise. Now, I’m 47 and I have Parkinson’s. I don’t WALK without medicine. I swim twice a week, because I’m lucky that I can move.”
We had a brief exchange after that, but I haven’t been able to shake the words (or the earnest way she said them) since then.
Thank you, gym lady.