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Senior moments: Old people know work
Rich DeLong

OK, so retirement lasted about five weeks.

I guess maybe I’m not ready to be put out to pasture quite so soon.

Actually, retirement is a mindset and I think my mind was working overtime on me. I kept hearing these words inside of my head: “Find something to do.” It’s a pretty common desire, feeling needed.

Everyone needs a purpose and I think I found a new “gig” as they say.

Years ago, 36 of them to be exact, I managed a couple of fitness centers in Philadelphia. I was only 22 at the time and left college so I could pursue my passion of helping people stay strong and fit. After returning to college, finally graduating and meeting my future wife, I once again gravitated to the fitness arena, this time overseeing a wellness center for seniors. This was really the beginning of a wonderful career in the senior living industry. I look back some days and marvel at how God puts us in places we need to be. And of course, he did it again.

Life does come full circle as I now manage a beautiful resort fitness center that just happens to sit right next to the beach. Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it, too? It’s not really work when the toughest part of my day is figuring out how I am going to keep all the sand off of the cardio equipment.

But somebody has to do it, so it might as well be me.

Now this particular fitness center did need quite a bit of TLC. Anybody that has spent any amount of time working with me knows things have to be clean if you want Rich to be happy.

As one of my favorite TV characters states, “If you have time to lean you have time to clean.”

So I am literally on the floor the other dayworking feverishly to get a stain out of the carpet when a slightly older but none-the-less fit woman says to me, “You’re new here aren’t you?”

“What gave you that idea?” I whispered to myself. I acknowledged that I was new onboard and she began to tell me how she rarely saw anybody in the center put forth a cleaning effort. We started talking and I thanked her for noticing my work, and then she said, “You’re about my age, right?” I was not sure if that was a trick question or not so I treaded very softly over the next few sentences.

Come to find out we were the same age and then she remarked how hiring “older” people is the smartest thing any employer can do because “us old people” know how to work.

“You would never see a young person on the floor scrubbing out a stain in the carpet,” she said.

“Maybe not,” I thought to myself. But I can’t expect that young person to do it if I do not set the example first – something my father taught me long ago.

She finished her workout and again made a nice compliment about the facility and went on her way. A few days later my boss made a similar comment about how nice the carpet looks. He’s 28 years old and the guy that hired me. Am I trying to sound sour or bitter? Not in my wildest dreams.

I consider him rather smart to have brought me on board and hope I can learn a few things from him along the way.

And he’ll probably learn a thing or two from this old guy, as well.

Yes, my friends, us old people do know how to work.

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