The Temptations got nothin’ on my Aqua Zumba classmates and me. It was a cloudy day even at 6 a.m., and the health club had long advertised no classes on Christmas Eve, but wishful thinking and the fact that our favored Aqua Zumba instructor had told us she’d be there was enough for seven regulars and one newbie to show up at the pool this morning. After all, the Christmas holidays promised loads of food temptations and limited hours at the gym, and we each had decided to “pay it forward” by burning some calories in advance.
Our instructor, Anita, wasn’t there. If we had had her music we might have muddled through on memory, but, alas, the pool was silent except for our chatter. On arrival, one by one we had gathered in the chilly pool. We automatically began moving just to keep warm, and at 6 o’clock on the dot, we knew Anita wasn’t coming. We had been hopeful, but not overly expectant, and were not paralyzed by her absence. I had brought along my swim cap and goggles, thinking I’d swim laps if the class didn’t occur, but the only lane available was the water walking lane. So we circled together, talked about our favorite Zumba workouts and our not-so-favorites, talked about other classes at the health club, talked about our jobs, our families, our holiday plans, our lives — perpetually doing our Zumba moves independent of one another, always moving that water and working our bodies.
As it so happens, we also made friends of acquaintances. And as I reflected on those 45 minutes in the pool in lieu of class this morning, I thought of some lyrics to fit The Temptations’ “I’ve Got Sunshine on a Cloudy Day” hit.
Aqua Zumba on a holiday
We missed our teacher; we worked out anyway
I’d guess you’d say
We held class on Christmas Eve day
My friends (my friends, my friends)
Talkin’ ’bout my friends (my friends)…
And while it was a silly little episode in my life (making for even sillier song lyrics), it struck me as something much deeper. I am a classy person, meaning that I prefer to exercise in classes rather than alone. I am also a friendly person, and I prefer to exercise in classes filled with friends rather than strangers. Friends are much more likely to ask me where I was if I miss a class. Friends also make hard work more fun. Author Robert Louis Stevenson once said, “A friend is a gift you give yourself.” I believe I just gifted myself on Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas to me!