Friday mornings at 10:30 I take a cardio dance exercise class. This morning I was working when suddenly I realized it was 10:15 and should be on my way. I grabbed my coat, car keys and pocketbook and dashed out the door.
The gym is only 1¼ miles from my house. During the spring, summer and fall I ride my bike, but it is too cold, wet and dreary most winter days. This morning it was raining.
Friday is the lightest gym attendance day of the week. It was easy to get a parking space and dash inside. I flashed my membership card at the desk attendant and quickly walked to the exercise room. It was 10:32.
Nobody was there.
No teacher, no partners in sweat, nobody.
I immediately got this miserable feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is Friday, isn’t it? Is the class time 10:30? I was sure it was. Maybe it is Friday and the class is not on Friday. Or?....
I assumed I had made a mistake. I walked out to the reception desk and sheepishly asked the attendant if there was a cardio dance class this morning.
Would he think I was nuts? Would he look puzzled and say, no, it’s scheduled another time…?
He pointed to the door, “It was cancelled today.” Sure enough, a sign on the door at eye level announced Friday’s Cardio Dance Class was cancelled due to illness. I was in such a hurry I missed it on the way in.
A sigh of relief.
I was not crazy.
I am not going crazy.
Of course I was concerned about the instructor. Was she ill? Was her daughter ill? But honestly, I was relieved that I was not crazy.
Several years ago I would never have second-guessed myself. I would have assumed someone else made the mistake.
Fast forward and I am forgetful about where I place things, who called, appointments, names, and the list goes on. I need a calendar to record appointments and events. If errors occur or problems arise, as it did this morning, I wonder if I messed up. Nowadays I find that information I know I know is not on the tip of my tongue. I have to think about it. The information is there, stored in a file deep inside my brain, and eventually I find and retrieve it.
But not always.
Probably just about every baby boomer and older adult who has known someone who has declined because of dementia worries about the worst kind of memory-related illnesses – especially Alzheimer’s. There are 77 million baby boomers. Health experts predict 10 million will get Alzheimer’s. It reminds me of the talk the college dean gave on the first day of college. Look to the left, look to the right - only one of you will graduate. Which one will get Alzheimer’s?
The good news is most of us will not. We all have our senior moments, and that is a normal part of the aging process.
A University of Colorado study found a small amount of physical exercise could protect the elderly from long-term memory loss usually associated with illness. The study was done on rats, but the experts insist this translates to human behavior.
So I will continue to exercise and hope for the best.
A hilarious note to end on - a great song all of us boomers and elders can relate to!