A few years ago, I taught a weekly chair yoga class at a local care home. The first few weeks the class was fairly quiet with a few brave souls checking out the unknown quantity that had entered their living space.
Soon, as word spread that it was “fun & not too weird” as overheard in the hallway, the class started filling up. I became very fond of my “regulars” & had the pleasure of often chatting both before & after class.
One character that I will always remember was a 102-year-old lady, sadly I can’t recall her name. She would arrive to class, usually a few minutes late, pushing her walker in front of her. She was incredibly independent & as bright as a button, not much could get past her. I soon learned that she had a regimented workout routine. Each day after breakfast she would walk several laps around the care home, quite some distance when reliant on a walker. If the weather was favorable, she would take her walk outdoors & make her way slowly around the pathways of the manicured gardens. She was convinced that these daily walks along with her half an hour on a stationary reclining bicycle was what had kept her going all these years. I tend to agree with her, we get to decide if we stay strong.
Occasionally she would fall asleep on the bike or during yoga class, however I figured that at 102 years of age that was more than allowable, the fact that she showed up to exercise at all still impresses me now.
One day after class I had the opportunity to chat with her, “what inspires you?” I asked. “Well, if you don’t use it you lose it” she replied, if only more of us thought this way. We chatted on for a while & she shared her memories of the local area; she had lived in Connecticut all her life & remembered Waterford before there were roads as we know them now. She told me stories of the dust roads with horse & cart for transport & about her family. It was one of those rare & special moments of connection.
The most meaningful part of our conversation was just before I left, she told me “when I open my eyes each morning, I say to myself, oh good I’m still here, what will I do today?” Whenever I think of this, I am reminded to be grateful for life, for each day & to be more aware of each present moment & the opportunities each day brings.
When you wake up tomorrow morning what will you get to do with your day?