(SENIOR WIRE) If you walk down our street on any Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday, you will pass a house where the double garage doors are wide open. You will hear the Alexa Amazon Band playing various tunes from artists such as Michael Jackson, Miranda Lambert, or Bon Jovi at 9:30 a.m. Such noise causes the dogs to bark and the humans to wear earplugs.
Folks hear the racket from far away and wonder why, in a neighborhood of mostly older people, such madness comes from the brick house on the corner. Then it dawns on them whom the house belongs to, and it begins to make sense.
Yep, you guessed it. It’s ours. After the gyms closed due to the pandemic, I was determined not to be emergency airlifted to a hospital due to a chocolate chip cookie overdose. I needed to keep myself motivated to move and avoid such a fate.
I took my tape measure to my small garage to determine the number of friends I could exercise with, while safely spatially distanced. No more than five could participate.
“Lynn’s Garage Gym” opened in March 2020, and it has saved a few of us from becoming slugs, sitting on sofas surrounded by Tootsie Roll wrappers. Every week I create exercise routines because boredom would surely kill any motivation.
The girls know if I am upset over some government decision, they will need to do extra rapidly counted jumping jacks. When I am blue, they recognize that the ab workouts will be shorter, and the music will be a bit softer. But, when they hear Alexa belting, “Beat It” by Jackson, or Guns N’ Roses’s “Paradise City,” they know what they are in for.
My gym became official when Mr. Covid decided to stick around for a while. Even though some workout facilities opened, we older folks decided that it was not safe for most of us.
One day, the girls surprised me with a custom-made black iron sign that reads between the molded weights, “Lynn’s Garage Gym.” I adore that gift because even though it says, “Gym,” the garage has become much more than that.
We say prayers on days when the world outside the open doors seems bleak and dark. As neighbors stroll by, we wave at them, smiling like we’re crazy ladies who believe we’re are still only seventeen.
We rarely fully agree on politics or the breaking news, but we never let it make a difference in our friendships.
Many days we go over my weekly newspaper column, and I receive constructive, honest feedback. We complain about the ugly rolls of a mysterious entity on our bodies that never seem to go away, yet we are grateful we are still around to see them. We long to hug our grandchildren and gather at friends’ tables, but in the end, we are thankful we have each other and the gym.
I can tell when one of the girls is down or tired, so I crack my whip harder, and the blues seem to float toward the sky.
We laugh when a bird decides to fly into the gym for a visit, or when a stranger almost runs over a mailbox when he hears moans and groans along with Alexa Amazon screaming “Pink Cadillac.”
Much can be said about finding motivation amid sorrow. It is so difficult not to succumb to the pandemic doom and gloom. We bemoan the loss of ordinary days and long for their return. Would not that be wonderful?! However, there are a few things I hope we never do again.
I hope that we would nevermore return to ingratitude. I hope that we have learned that complaining is quite useless and that prayer is quite essential. I hope we forever remember that life can change at a moment’s notice, so we enjoy every moment of even the most mundane days.
When I watch my workout sisters as the sweat pours off their brows, I witness abundant life and relish health in our little gym. I do not take breathing or friendship for granted, and I pray none of us ever will again.
We find we are stronger when we exercise, not just from the weights we lift but also from the mental strength to weather life’s hardships together. Our power comes from having the endurance and courage to survive the worst of times.
The adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” is appropriate. We finally recognize that strength comes from our hearts, not our muscles. Ultimate lasting power only comes from love, kindness, empathy, and gratitude for God’s abundant blessings. MSN