Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Company You Keep

I got an email the other day from my friend, children's-author Peg Kehret, who had just come back from a weekend visit to Whitman College, where her granddaughter is a student. Peg's enthusiasm over her visit was palpable: "Being on campus is invigorating."

I knew exactly what she meant. There's something about being in the company of younger people.

For the past two-plus years, I've been going regularly to Club Zum, a facility in downtown Seattle, where they take care to explain they are not "a gym," but rather, a club, where people go as part of a program to live well and feel good, rather than to pursue a particular physical goal, such as losing weight or getting ripped. If I'm not the oldest person at this facility, I'm damn close, but it doesn't matter. The twenty- and thirty-somethings among the trainers and clients relate to me just as they do to each other. No condescension or fake jollies for the old guy.

The vivacity at Zum is infectious. The sight and sound of all those beautiful young people - men and women - smiling, greeting, and encouraging each other as they pour enthusiasm into their workouts, instantly resets any downbeat mood.

I schedule my sessions for mid-afternoon. After several hours at the computer, I'm usually feeling pretty logy as I go in. Then, for an hour or more, Derek, my trainer, challenges me, paying attention to what he sees as my particular needs and capabilities, all the while tweaking my interest by explaining the reasons for what he's having me do. Yep, some of my muscles may feel a little sore when I'm leaving the facility, but I actually do feel good! Invigorated. My head's clear - ready to take on that character who won't get off his duff and move his plot along.

Don't bother asking when I'm going to move into one of those 55-and-over communities. Keeping up a house can be a pain, but no point taking an analgesic with side effects worse than the disease.

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