As I walked through a park this past Sunday, I passed a man sitting on a bench at a particularly beautiful stretch of the path. He was alone and seemed so content. I took a photo of him after I passed, and then decided to stop and say hello to him.
His name was Matty, and he told me he comes to the park often, even though it is a 15 minute drive from where he lives. He loves the outdoors, and usually bicycle rides but his knee has been giving him a hard time lately. He told me he continued to ski until he was 70. His favorite activity has always been ballroom dancing, his favorite dances salsas. I wondered about his family but didn’t want to ask, when he offered that his wife had passed away some years ago. Today was Mother’s Day and he had just come from the cemetery to sit here in the park. I felt bad as he choked up when telling me this, but he brightened quickly to tell me more about his dancing and how he goes twice a week.
He then asked me how old I thought he was. I estimated late 70’s, as his face revealed no lines, he was fit and trim. He laughed out loud and said 91. He shared how it is hard to be alone and how important it is to get out and be with people, stay involved. He said his only daughter lives on the west coast, and works in TV, that I could find her if I googled her and looked her up on youtube. Matty set a good example of someone who is keeping himself current and relevant by keeping up with the times- something to emulate I thought to myself.
I finally said I had to go, but was glad I had stopped to say hello. Our short visit had left me with things to think about; growing older, being alone, staying current, staying active, participating in life, not quitting life just because you reach a certain age. A 15 minute life lesson to take with me, to keep as a reminder.