A weird thing happened to yesterday – my gym closed. 9 years, 9 months of membership, and due to business restructuring Fitness First decided to close down a quite successful club. (No more said – but I did express my feelings to them in a strong letter!) I was there as it opened, was an original member, and so yesterday I took some time off work to have a final session on the rowing machine, and then be with the staff as they closed it all down at 3.00 pm. A rather emotional moment for them – most of them not too sure what they are going on to, and of course 30th November is not the best time of the year to lose your job. We (the staff & a few members) then headed off for a drink, and as I was writing this late last night I guess a larger group of staff & members had headed into Sheffield for a more serious evening of partying. But not me – the rowing machine did enough! I will miss the gym and that punchbag especially – a good friend of mine over the last few years (!), but actually there is quite a bit else to miss – the routined contact with other people who I have formed a little community with – trainers, front desk, and other members, some who I have chatted with and got to know their names and jobs – and some others who I have just nodded or acknowledged as we have moved around the equipment. As well as keeping my fit, I have seen some of it as my personal escape, and some of it as my small mission field.
So, a weird day which has got me thinking about the importance of being around others, getting to know names, acknowledging people for the small things they offer you, recognising people who come in and out of your life, the ordinariness of routine, and what loss it is when a community is broken down. Maybe something to think about – wherever we are in the world.
So that’s it – Fitness First member 50100965 signing out. OK Pure Gym….here I come!