Today was a normal day. I was ahead on most of my required work and was looking forward to some lower stress opportunities to work on things I wanted to work on but…I had to hit the gym first. It’s one of my stress relievers and it messes up my day when I miss it.
After a longer than normal workout (I had to account for the lunch meeting that will likely include food I really shouldn’t be eating), I hit the showers totally focused on what I needed to accomplish before lunch and what could I get done after.
As I marched out a small crowd caught my eye just behind the stairs and I had to pause for just a moment.
One of our oldest members (93 years young today as a matter of fact), was standing with about 20 other gym members huddled around a birthday cake with balloons and birthday hats.
Now, I’m not sure when you are supposed to age out of birthday hats. I know I have rejected them since I was about 12 but there’s just something about a senior citizen wearing a child’s birthday hat that elicits joy in those around them and on this morning, I felt that joy for just a moment.
Once I recognized whose birthday was being celebrated, I really wasn’t surprised. I think he’s been telling most of the people he comes in contact with that he’s approaching that seldom reached number of 93. In truth, I would have said he was 73…maybe 75.
I don’t thing there’s a single person that walks through the doors (including me) that he doesn’t flash a smile and say hello remembering some tidbit about you that he’s picked up over the years.
Most days he’s on a recumbent bike but he’ll wander over to the machines and free weights which is pretty astonishing for someone his age. Everyone knows him and everyone likes him.
So, it wasn’t a surprise to me that he had a crowd (mostly of younger women – you sly devil) gathered around to celebrate him and while he has a smile every time I see him, I’ve never seen him smile that big or stand that tall.
What a moment.
I don’t fully understand why that moment meant so much to me. Maybe it’s because I genuinely like him, too. It’s hard not to like someone who you’re certain genuinely likes you and I think everyone in our gym fells like this man cares about them.
Maybe it’s because in each one of our souls, we long for a small crowd of people to see us and celebrate us.
I have no doubt he’s well like by everyone in that crowd. Someone had to buy the hats and get the cake. Someone had to gather a small group of friends. Someone had to care to get this started.
You see, life is better with others. It’s a truth that’s easy to overlook after a pandemic. As we are often tempted to remain secluded in our homes and offices, don’t miss out on those moments when people come together and show us what life is really all about.