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I have to admit it. This morning I had a less than enthusiastic attitude when I walked into the gym. I was tired, irritable, and my muscles ached slightly from an over-zealous training session a couple days earlier. It was all I could do to drag myself in there, but as I was thinking about how I’d rather be at Starbucks, I saw Jack and things began to shift.

I’ve been a member of my gym for two years now, and almost every time I go, I see Jack. I think he’s at the gym for a workout just about every day, and every day he’s smiling and chatting it up with his fellow ’regulars.’ Being the introvert that I am, I’ve only chatted with Jack a couple of times, but each time I felt a little flattered that he chose to speak to me, to include me in his circle of gym friends--even if it was only for a brief moment.

Today, Jack was focused more on his workout than chit chat. Despite being on the elliptical machine right next to mine, he kept the talking to a minimum and got right to work. I peddled along beside him, feeling quite proud to be working out with Jack. (OK, so we weren’t actually working out together, but it was close enough.) After Jack and I finished on the elliptical, I headed to the treadmills while he stopped off for a quick go on the recumbent bike. Once finished there, Jack joined me on the mills. This time, he was a few machines away, but it didn’t matter. I could still keep my eye on him. As I plugged along attempting to finish my mileage, Jack busied himself with intervals. Walk two minutes, jog five, walk one, jog seven, etc. Out of the corner of my eye, I marveled at him. His stamina, his charm, his dedication to keeping fit are all characteristics worthy of admiration, and this morning, by 'working out with Jack,' my attitude changed. I no longer dreaded the rest of my run, but rather, I reveled in it. I was no longer irritable, I was inspired, and my grumbling morphed into gratitude.

Jack left the treadmill and found his way over to the free weights where one of his gym groupies gave him a high five and exclaimed, "Happy Birthday Jack!" As he picked up a 25 pound dumb bell, Jack responded with a beaming smile, "83 years young, my friend. 83 years young!"

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