So many things on my mind today. Just returned from Savannah where I attended an extraordinary gathering of 17 folks with whom I entered Peace Corps Training for a 2-year stint in Colombia, South America, 50 years ago. Yes, you heard that right. FIFTY years ago. We weren’t our entire group of probably over 40, and that’s not a surprise, though we missed our comrades. With our median age about 75, some of us are no longer doing air travel, some of us are ill, or caring for ill spouses.
I showed up with my trusty walker and cane.
What’s so extraordinary were the ways in which, for people who hadn’t seen each other in some cases for the entire 50 years, conversations were easy, memories were surfacing and being disputed, silliness and the seriousness co-existing, how much it felt like the old days.
We have traveled different paths for 50 years, each in our own ways. I remain convinced that to each other, we’ll never be different than young idealists and pioneers enjoying a unique start together on our distinct life journeys, which, by the way, still have years to run.
In fact, the optimists among us said, “Let’s do this again in 3 – 5 years.”
I’m starting to get used to being a source of inspiration to others I don’t even know. Mostly during my regular visits to the YMCA swimming pool and fitness room.
Last week it was Ron. Today, it was Elbert. While stretching on the nautilus machine, walker by my side, he approached, introduced himself and said: I can’t believe you trek in here with your walker and go to it. You’re such a hero to me. Especially on the days I don’t feel like getting out of bed and getting over here. And I’m able bodied!
I’m less surprised at these comments than I used to be. They are happening more and more often. I’m appreciative, yes. And somewhat amazed that just doing what I need to do, is mattering to someone I don’t know, who has been moved enough to share his appreciation.
Yes, I’m doing my life at this moment. And right now, part of that is attention to serious exercise. I’m also very aware how others in the gym have become my heroes (see an earlier post) for working persistently on their daunting goals, as they choose to do their lives. And I have introduced myself and thanked them.
Maybe we’re all potentially heroes to one another as we care of the business of living in the many caring, healthy, helpful, persistent ways that we do.
Keep in mind. Small things matter in ways you’ll probably never know.
You’re undoubtedly being noticed.