When you’ve been working out for a long time, in a relatively small geographical area, you tend to meet the same people over and over again regardless of how many times you change gyms, or how dramatically you change the days and times you exercise. Not being the social type at the gym, I have a barely discernible “nodding” relationship with these people; meaning, that when we see each other, we don’t walk over and do bro hugs, or talk about our kids. No, most of the time, we just give each other a knowing nod, perhaps a smile, and we move on to the next set.
Long story short, we aren’t friends, or buds. We just…have a casual run-in kind of relationship.
There are a lot of people like myself in the gym. We come in with our headphones on, and we do our thing and we leave. There are also people who come in and spend a good 1/3 of their time talking to others. Those people are usually there a lot longer than the former group, but hey, it’s their time.
Lately, time has been taking its toll on me. Part of it, I think, was overtraining. But regardless, it all boiled down to the fact that I just didn’t have that burning desire to go hurt myself on a daily basis anymore. I dunno…call me crazy. Too, I think a lot of it has been stress–stress from a new whiny baby; stress from a new job; stress from just…I dunno…stress. In response, I’ve cut back a bit. I take at least one extra day off per week and so far, it’s working for me.
The other day I was at the gym and in walked in a fellow I’ve seen for nigh on ten years. He was at my last gym and now he’s at my new-ish gym. He’s short–prolly 5′ 4″, but he’s built like a little brickhouse (and I mean that in weightlifter terms, not in a “he’s got a bit of the gey” terms). He’s always sort of walked around like he owned the place, or so I felt, and I generally don’t mix it up with people like that.
But, within a few minutes, he ended up on the bench next to me and I figured, “What the hay” and spoke up:
“Hey man, I haven’t seen you around in a while. Did you change your workout times, or have you just been absent?”
As I said this, I noticed that he too, had a bit of the gray going on his sideburns and for just a moment there, I felt a kindred spirit.
“Nah, I work out at about 5:30 in the morning, so I miss most of the people here,” he said.
I just nodded.
“Plus,” he continued, “Nowadays, I’m just trying to maintain, you know?”
I did know, and I responded in kind. And that was it. End of discussion.
But as I wrapped up my workout and reflected on our brief conversation, it struck me that he seemed like a pretty cool guy. And, knowing that people have told me how unapproachable I appear at times, I wondered if others look at me the same way.
And then I thought, “What a waste.”
I wonder how many potential friends I’ve missed out on because of my “leave me alone” attitude? But, it’s not that I’m dying for friends, but the older I get, the less important things like “work” are to me and more important quality time is–both by myself and with other people. It’s funny how we change over time.