I was at the gym a few mornings ago. I never pay attention to who is around me. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but hear the man with a booming voice on the treadmill next to me greet another man who had taken residence on the treadmill next to him.
”Hey John,” he said. “I haven’t seen you for a long time. How are you doing?”
”Good,” replied John. “Really good. How about you Frank? Are you good?”
”Good. Really good,” said Frank.
”Good, good,” said John. “That’s good to hear.”
About this time, my head was ready to explode. I remembered my recent vow to model kindness, however, and took a deep breath. That was good, huh?
They continued talking.
”Well,” said Frank, “You and me, we’re about done, aren’t we?”
Thinking he was talking about being nearly done on the treadmill, I said a silent thank goodness. Not saying it out loud allowed me to convince myself that I was still modeling kindness. However, as I used to tell my sister Jen when we were kids: Mom knows and God knows.
John answered him, “Yessir, it’s about over. I guess we’re in the bottom of the ninth inning about now.”
Frank said, “Yep, I told my daughter the other day that she doesn’t have to live forever, but she can’t die before me.”
”I guess that won’t happen,” said John, apparently always one to support a friend. “I’m sure you’ll die first. It won’t be long now.”
By the way, if you think I’m making up this conversation, you would be wrong. Hand to God.
At this point, I finally looked over to see who was having this macabre conversation. I expected to see two old, decrepit men on oxygen tanks and walkers. What I saw instead were two handsome men maybe in their late 70s who didn’t look at all like they were on their last legs. They were at the gym for heaven’s sake.
There is no person who is more glass-half-empty than me, but I don’t think I’m going to die soon. I recognize that I am not staring 80 in the face, but I don’t think Bill is going to die soon either, and he is dangerously close.
Listening to them reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend 20 years ago. We were shopping together and she made a comment about the two of us being middle-aged.
What? What? I nearly screamed, “I AM NOT MIDDLE AGED.”
“Really?” she said. “Do you think you’re going to live past 85? Because the only way you’re not middle aged is if you are going to live to, say 100.”
Well, I’m not likely to live to be 100, but there was no way I was going to admit to being middle aged at 45 years old. I’m firm on that.
Age doesn’t mean a thing. Well, at least it doesn’t mean EVERYTHING. I hope when I am in my 70s, I still feel like I have a quite a few more years to live, even if I don’t.
And as far as I’m concerned, that’s good.