Quiet Inspiration

I can’t say that I like going to the gym, but I made the committment to go three times a week and along with a little prodding from my husband, I’m making myself do it. The treadmill can get pretty boring so I use that time to people watch. After some in-depth observation, I’ve decided that most people who go to the gym fall into one of several categories. Here are a few:

The Strutters  I’m talking about those young men who throw their shoulders back and do a credible imitation of a Peacock as they strut from one end of the gym to the other. Fifteen minutes later, they do it again. A little while later, they do it again. Sometimes, they fill their water bottle  from the water fountain or stop to talk to someone at the front desk or check the schedule for the various classes–but I never see them actually working out. I know they must work out at some point because impressive biceps and pecs nearly always accompany the strut. I also wonder what these guys do for a living because I’m at the gym late morning, when most people are at work. Maybe the gym pays them to walk around all pumped up and inspire others. I dunno. I gotta confess that all it does is make me giggle.

Retired Folks  I understand this group. When you reach the other side of fifty, you realize that you’re not immortal. Time is whizzing by and if you want to be a happy, healthy, productive member of the human race, it’s going to take more effort than it did when you were younger. Not everyone completely gets this, though. There are nearly always a couple of older ladies/gentlemen who pedal their stationary bikes at about four revolutions per minute and gab about their neighbors or politics or where they went to dinner the night before. I suppose a slow pedal is better than nothing, but I always want to sneak up behind them and holler, “Pedal faster!”

Young Parents with Young Children  I love watching parents picking up their kids at the gym-provided day care. The parents are sweating bullets, nearing collapse because they’re struggling with a build up of lactic acid in their extremities and the little ones are throwing a tantrum because they don’t want to go home. I love watching it, because I am no longer that parent.

The Executives   These are the type A individuals who can’t leave the office at the office. They cram their little ear bud into their ear and continue to manage their business while walking the treadmill or elliptical. Some may see this as efficient. Personally, I think it’s insane.

Young Women Who Can Wear Spandex and Get Away With It   (see top photo)I have a request for these beautifully sleek young women who don’t seem to have an ounce of fat anywhere. Could we arrange not to be at the gym at the same time? I’m ashamed to admit that I’m not above pea-green envy.

While I was on the treadmill this morning I saw an older woman on the rowing machine who didn’t fit any of the categories I’d made up to entertain myself.  I was impressed by how long she was able to stay with it. I’m good for about fifteen minutes on it and she must have gone at least twenty. You could tell she was struggling because she would periodically slow down and had to stop twice to rest. She looked pretty ordinary. Blue sweats, gray hair, maybe twenty pounds overweight. Other than her diligence on the rower, there was nothing about her that would make you sit up and take notice.  When she was finished, she retrieved a pair of crutches off the floor and stood up. She got halfway to the exit before I was able to see that she only had one leg. It completely blew me away.

I know that there are amputees who accomplish remarkable things. They ski, run, ride bikes and climb mountains. They’re driven to accomplish great things. That’s who they are. But there was something about this lady that was so unassuming that I marveled at her quiet determination. She wasn’t an athlete by any means, but she made herself keep at it because that was what she needed to do. Sometimes inspiration comes unusual packages. Mine came from a very ordinary one. And that was what made it extraordinary.

I’m nosey. I want to know! Where does your inspiration come from?



About Diana Douglas

Diana Douglas, author. Coorganizer of the Arizona Novel Writers Workshop. Member Arizona Historical Novel Society, Member BooksGoSocial Authors, Transplanted Texan. http://www.meetup.com/Arizona-Writers-Workshop-com http://twitter.com/#!/themodernscribe
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9 Responses to Quiet Inspiration

  1. Just lately, my inspiration to lose a few pounds and hopefully get toned up comes from our friend, Char. She’s lost 50 pounds and looks great. She amazes me!
    Good for you for getting to the gym. Not that YOU need to lose weight. But it never hurts to do some cardio for our heart’s sake, or to build some muscle. Especially when we sit on our cans so many hours writing.

    • Char looks great, doesn’t she? She didn’t make a big deal out of it, either. She just did it. I really admire that. As much as I dislike going to the gym, I do feel a lot better when I work out. I saw a blurb on TV about a combo treadmill/laptop stand. Wish I could remember where it was, though I’m not certain I could walk and type at the same time.

  2. I need to keep my immune system in the best shape possible, so I work out. My problem is when a great tune plays on my iTunes Shuffle, I can’t help but push myself on the elliptical machine and then I get exhausted several hours later. I have to learn to balance my workout and burnouts.

    Plus, I’ve got this new life and I feel free to live for me for the first time. That’s very motivating!

  3. You’re doing a stupendous (this is my new word to replace awesome) job with your new life! I completely understand about the fine line between seperating doing enough to make a difference and over-doing it. The biggest factors with CFDS/FMS seem to be exercise, diet and sleep. I’m probably gonna outlive my entire family ’cause I have to take such freakin’ good care of myself!

  4. molly says:

    At the minute I’m inspired by a friend of mine, Cha-cha – recently diagnosed with cancer. There he was at the cafe tonight regaling us with uproarous tales of his latest round with chemo and the bountiful ward matron, whom he’s got the hots for – with that mile-wide smile and contagious laughter, he’s courage personified, cheers cathul8r molly

  5. Laughter makes everything better! Even cancer.

  6. Vladimir says:

    I saw a kid in a wheelchair, from Las Vegas, who have a special made chair, and he did 360 degrees flip.(over his head). I vas amazed with the level of his courage and will. He inspired me for life.

  7. Very cool. It’s amazing how a single moment can change how we think about life.

  8. Marcia says:

    Sorry I’m so late getting to this post, but glad I didn’t miss it. Must have been very inspiring to see her leave on crutches. That’s a strong woman.
    My inspiration is the thought of turning 60 and still not having put in the effort to get fit. I look at pictures of me in my 20s, before kids, and wonder why I let myself go to pot! It would have been so much easier just to stay in shape.
    Kudos to you for going to the gym regularly! I’d love to read one day that Baby Boomers are the healthiest and most fit people on earth!

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