It’s quite a view. In the west, the rugged Spring Mountains bask in the morning sun, an ever-changing interplay of light and clouds, peaks and valleys.
I never tire of it.
To the north, the Las Vegas Strip sits anchored in the desert like a luxury liner in dry dock.
The air is clear, no smog or dust or howling winds, and the temperature is close to perfect.
If you don’t believe me, ask the sunbathers and swimmers and floaters and waders who have flocked to the pool today like ducks to a well-stocked pond.
These ducks are no spring chickens. Most of them, as they say where I come from, are on the undertaker’s end of 70.
I’m watching them through a glass wall that separates the pool from the gym, where I am plodding along on a treadmill like a mule pulling a plow.
I doubt they can see me. They’re too busy laughing and yakking and having a good time.
And they’re not alone. In an adjacent building, hundreds of others are playing cards or shooting pool, joining clubs and taking classes, finding ways to stay engaged and feel alive.
I wish you could see them.
This complex is part of a huge “55 and older” community that comprises some 7,000 homes, including ours.
We like our place, my husband and I. To live in it, one of us had to be 55 or older. One of us was. Never mind who.
The only problem with a place that’s just for old people is that there aren’t any young people around. Especially kids.
I miss watching bikes pop wheelies on my lawn; catching baseballs as they crash through my window; answering the door 50 times on Halloween to little monsters looking for handouts; and listening to teenage wannabe rock stars bang their drums and dream their dreams.
Seriously. I love that stuff. I revisit it occasionally with my grandchildren. But visiting with children is not the same as having them live next door and getting to watch them grow up.
I miss having young people of all ages around me. But to tell you the truth? I don’t miss it so much at the gym.
Here, half naked and all sweaty on a treadmill, I rather like being on the younger end of the age spectrum. It makes me feel, not young, but relatively speaking, a little less old.
I just wish my knees felt that way, too. Ten minutes into a 30-minute workout, I bumped up the speed from 2.5 to 3 mph.
Seconds later, my right knee asked, “Have you lost what little is left of your mind?” I ignored it. Then my left knee threatened bodily harm, so I slowed to 2.5.
There was a time in my life when I could run like the wind, never get tired and my knees wouldn’t complain a bit. Sure, I was 8 years old, but still. I kept running into my 30s. Then the knees began to balk and the running slowed to a walk and pretty soon, I was mostly sitting. In front of a computer. Or a TV. Or a dinner plate. And the more I sat, the less I felt like moving.
My grandmother lived on a mountain and walked for miles most every day. She said she had to keep her body moving or it would quit on her. She kept it moving and it did not quit, until her late 80s, when she went to bed one night and never woke up. It seemed like a good way to leave this world, but even better, I thought, was the quality of life she enjoyed, start to finish.
That is what I want. Not just to feel better or look younger, but to keep moving and enjoy the gift of life I’ve been given for as long as it is mine. There’s a lot of stuff I still want to do.
So I’m spending five days a week, more or less, in a gym, inspired by women of a certain age everywhere, who keep their bodies moving on treadmills or sidewalks or any way they can, bless their pounding hearts, like blue-haired bats out of hell.
Long may our knees hold up.
Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077, or on her website: www.sharonrandall.com.