The Old Man at the Gym

My energy level is better in the morning than in the evenings. As a result, I prefer to work out at the gym before the day begins, as opposed to doing so after work. I find myself slowly losing energy and motion as the day wears on, so I enjoy how a workout will kickstart my day.

Like most, I try to hit the gym on a fairly consistent basis. It’s some small part discipline, but a big part of it has to do with routine. There’s no thinking, there’s no arguing. It’s Monday morning: wake up, make some eggs, and go work out. Submitting to the routine makes the process feel less like a burden, and more like a habit.

Over the last few weeks, it’s been interesting to see the ebb and flow of the other folks at the gym. With the holidays and people travelling, I noticed a steady decline in people the closer we got to Christmas. Everyone was either out of town, or maybe sleeping in a little more often.

I’ve been working out since July, and I’m only now starting to recognize people – the regulars who, like me, prefer to do their exercises early in the morning. One of the regulars I noticed (just saw him this morning in fact), is an older gentleman that I refer to in my head as “the Old Man.”

The Old Man is definitely up there in years. I’m terrible at guessing age, but I’d say he’s somewhere in his 70’s. He has gray in his hair, and is by far the oldest person in the gym. I can’t help but think he could be anyone else’s grandfather.

He has glasses, usually wears a headband, a weight belt, and has all manner of support wraps on both his elbows and knees. He also has some kind of portable music device, which I don’t recall… but his headphones looked really dated (where the earpieces were just large discs with padding over them).

Here’s the thing though: I see him at the gym all the time. Whenever I’m there, I see him. While the Old Man is not as beefy or broad as the younger guys around him, he looks to be a decent shape. He looks like a man with energy.

On my way out of the locker room, I passed the Old Man and have been thinking about him all morning. The more I thought about him, the more inspired I felt, the more motivated. If this guy is hitting the gym with such regularity, who am I to complain about being too tired or not feeling energetic enough? If the Old Man is putting in his time with the weights, what possible reasons do I have that would justify not going?

I’m 36 years old, and a few months shy of turning 37. I’m a relatively young man still. I know that I don’t want to be an old man right now. But there are worse fates than becoming an old man, still true to his routine, that everyone sees day after day after day.

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