One of the joys of my "new life" has been the discovery of water aerobics. Three mornings a week I work out with the Silver Dolphins in a warm, indoor pool. This is a "senior citizens" group, and most people there are well into their 80's, making me feel like a kid in their midst.
What's contagious about the happiness there is the huge smiles on everyone's faces. For them, this is a social occasion as much as a workout. There is so much talking going on in the pool it's often difficult to hear the instructor. I'm loving how these folks look out for one another. Many have been coming to this class for 15-20 years, and they know each other well. If someone is having a bad day, has become ill, or has a spouse who is ailing (or dying), they rally around each other in such a loving way.
They are proud of the fact that they sing in the pool every morning. Promptly at 9:30, at the mid-point of the class, they burst into song. Choices are usually "oldies", such as "Daisy, Daisy, Give Me Your Answer, Do" or "Tavern in the Town". There's a repertoire of about 10 songs that are rotated throughout the month.
For me it has especially been a blessing to be in a locker room full of naked old women, all of whom seem totally comfortable in their bodies. For the most part, they show the signs of their age, but to me they are very beautiful. There is a softness to them. Their flesh has been used until it is worn, like flannel. They have nothing to hide and nothing to pretend. They have aches and pains, but they are joyful to be able to come together and enjoy the many pleasures of the warm water and the companionship.