There has to be a few grains of masochism in my makeup. Otherwise why would I be here so early in the morning, standing alongside young women, all fit and lean in their leotards and sweats? The wish to be fit and energetic has uprooted me from my comfortable bed and tumbled me into this gym to audition a new Zumba class.
Everybody seems to love Zumba. Wherever we drive I am bound to see a sign that says, “Sign up for Zumba” or, “Zumba offered!” So many of my friends enjoy this fitness phenomenon, and so many of their friends swear by it. Who am I to buck the popular tide, especially when a fitness regime is what I need?
Our instructor has appeared—lithe, fit and young. I look about me and note that there are a few gray heads in the crowd which reassures me… a little. Then the music blares on and our instructor leaps into action.
And leap she does. The wild rhythms escalate. “Shake it, Guys!” She shouts. “Shake it, shake it!”
I thought that this was what I was doing, but maybe I am not shaking enough. The action called for engages parts of me that I never knew existed, and each of those parts has begun to complain. But… here I am and if I need to shake, shake I will!
The music ends. The woman next to me edges over and whispers, “I know it’s hard for you. Just do what you can and don’t worry.” It occurs to me, as I murmur appropriately appreciative words, that I have said these words to others in my time and that turn about is fair play. When I was young I used to encourage older, struggling ladies on the gym floor, and I wonder now if the words I said to them made me sound vaguely patronizing and superior. I cringe at the thought and realize, humbly, that life changes one’s viewpoint!
That word, kindly meant…
Did it bring smiles or unease,
Did it help…. Or hurt?
But now the music has changed and is louder, wilder, faster, and harder to follow. “You sexy lady,” it shrieks, “Bom, de bom, bom, bom!” I would like to inform the singer that I have never felt less sexy in my life, but I have no breath to spare. All around me women are gyrating and mouthing the words; they’re into it and enjoying the experience, and they all do it so well! Perhaps this is so with everything, really. When we know how to do something, it is so easy for us that we can’t understand—and are often impatient— with someone else who works and suffers and struggles.
Another life lesson! And suddenly my sense of humor asserts itself. The thought of how I must look as I pant and puff and attempt to shake it, is so amusing that I finally relax and go with the flow. Perhaps in time I will improve—if, indeed, I decide to continue with Zumba—but I have grave doubts. Never mind! For the rest of the hour I shake and strut, jump and slide.
Then, mercifully, it’s over. As each of my complaining muscles, tendons, nerves and ligaments creak back into position, the instructor runs over. “High five!” she cries, following action to words. “You did great, Lady!”
Hobbling away, I admire her perception. Pride will bring me back, of course, and she knows it.
But first I need a nap!
So ends the lesson…
Whether for mind or body,
I am not certain.