Letters from Bastrop Y: Linda P.


Hello, Fellow Y Members,

I hope all are well. I’ve missed the people I’ve grown to think of as my Y family. I’ve miss the laughter as we try to keep up with Grace Garnes in dance cardio classes, the hugs sometimes dispensed in Noreen’s or Kim’s yoga classes, the spontaneous sing-alongs when Traci H plays a favorite oldie in the active older adult fitness classes, and the way Rachel learns all our names so quickly. Understanding that social interaction and exercise are equally important components of physical, mental, and brain health, my husband and I have maintained our memberships during the period of social isolation. I want the Y to be there when we’re ready to return.

I replaced on-site classes with jogs with our Great-Pyrenees mix in the early mornings, when I have the streets in our small subdivision to myself, as well as You Tube and Y online classes. We’ve supported local restaurants offering curbside pickup. Since I’m a plant-based eater, my favorites have been Tough Cookie Bakery and Neighbors Kitchen’s CSA baskets. I am in the final months of editing my latest novel prior to submitting it. I’m also learning to use a free graphic design site and an aggregator that could schedule my tweets. I’ve set up family meetings and one reunion on Zoom. I’ve attended book club meetings and writer’s group meetings via Zoom or Skype. 

Of course, all that happy talk ignores the moments of sadness, worry for family members’ health and finances, and for the world in general. I’m saddened by the division between people. I keep up with news, but I also separate from it at times. As my husband and I have done numerous times in the past fifty years, we’re retrenching financially, looking at all expenses. My mantra that I have all I need for today calms and reassures me when worries grow, and I know that exercising and laughter with friends in person or on our smartphones eases those worries, too.

I owe my ability to lead an active life in part to the Y. In February, 2017, I stumbled into my first seated exercise class by Traci H. That was eight months after a surgery that had opened my skull and moved my brain around to access jumbled-up blood vessels at the base of my brain compressing my trigeminal nerve. For more than two years before that surgery, I had needed a cane and was rapidly progressing toward needing a walker. I couldn’t eat, talk, smile, or feel the slightest breeze on my face without triggering horrendous pain. My doctors and I had assumed that my difficulty walking was due to the effects of having rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease that attacks many body systems. Imagine my surprise when, within months of that surgery, I was more stable.

Traci H’s class helped me increase balance, strength, and stamina, and I will be forever grateful to her, the Y instructors and staff, and my encouraging classmates. From there, I leaped into Grace’s classes. I clung to the columns in the old Kerr Building for my first weeks. I added yoga classes by Amanda and then Noreen. When I needed the same surgery on the opposite side, I bounced back that time. It’s a joy to be on my feet and moving! I’ve learned to appreciate the people around me and whatever joy and tragedy in each day I’m given. We’ll all pull through the challenges we’ve been given this time, too, as long as we can laugh with, empathize with, and applaud each other. 

Because I’m immuno-compromised, I won’t be returning in person to classes on June 1, but I’ll be in live classes online. See you soon again, Y members!

Linda P.

All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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