Autumn Years

I’ll admit to looking at pictures of my highschool classmates on Facebook and comparing hair colour, wrinkles and weight – not in a jealous or mean way, but as an inspiration to stay vibrant.  There are those who look like they’ve given up and there are those who are out mountain climbing, cycling and travelling the world.  It’s the latter I look to for motivation.

Sadly this past week one of my Aquafit ‘gang’ passed away.  There are about 20 of us, I’d say aged 50 – 80 who haunt the local pool every weekday afternoon for laps and a 45 minute class.  The ones who aren’t yet retired are teachers, professors or medical professionals who have a flexible schedule – most are retired.  The time isn’t just about exercise; it’s a social time.  We chat about the latest news, family outings and health issues.  We know who’s there to regain mobility after surgery, who’s battling diabetes and who’s coping with arthritis.  We have a unique camaraderie.  There’s a core group of about 8 who’ve been doing this for 12 years.  It’s one of those members who passed away suddenly after a very brief illness.  He only knew he had cancer for a few weeks.  I didn’t know him for very long, but I’ve spent the last year jogging, paddling with water weights, kicking with noodles and doing jumping jacks with him and his wife.  He had a sparkle in his eye and would purposely splash the ladies knowing full well they didn’t want to get their hair wet.  We lovingly called him the ‘splasher’.

His death has got me thinking about life, especially in the autumn years.  I look around at most of my neighbours whose physical activity seems to focus on mowing the lawn and tending the garden and whose social activity ranges from family gatherings to absolutely nothing.  I compare them to the Aquafit gang who daily come to the pool with stories of having friends over for dinner, craft meetings, antique hunting, country outings, the latest charity fund raisers, local bluegrass festivals, the downtown market, apple picking, river walks – you name it, they do it.

Life can be short.  It doesn’t matter how healthy we are, our number can be up at any moment.  Thank your Maker for each and every day.  You can sit around and wait for it, or you can live life.  Smell the roses.  Talk to your neighbours.  Join a group.  Go for a walk.  Enjoy.   

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