I Once Met a Man in a Sauna

Hmm, with a title like that, I imagine this article could go in a number of different directions.  Never fear, this is a family friendly site and, well, I’m happily married, thank you.

But the meeting did take place in a sauna and purely coincidently so.

For the sake of context, you may recall that my wife and I recently took a trip to Florida for a long weekend.  Specifically, we were in Ft. Lauderdale and as a result of my many years travelling with my last job, we were able to redeem Marriott Reward points for a weekend at one of their fine resort properties.

As a stroke of genius, the site also offered “memberships” to those in the local community.  I’ll reserve the business strategy discussion for another time but suffice it to say that the subject of my sauna encounter was a local retiree who was also a resort member.  I never learned his name, but we’ll call him Joe for the sake of this story.

Our polite hellos segued into conversation.  “Where are you from?”, “Enjoying your stay?” types of topics.  Joe shared that he was in his 70s, was a member of the resort, and that he came nearly every day to participate in various exercise classes and to relax in the sauna and pool.

He elaborated, sharing that he was originally from Connecticut – yes, I recognized the accent – and shared that he was an insurance salesman for a number of years.  Take your pick as to which company as they all have offices or headquarters in state.

He talked about his career, how he worked hard and had his way of doing things.  He shared that he was no role model with his schedule and travel but that like Sinatra, he did it his way and was pleased with the results.

We talked some about my career and more about his.  It was an easy and friendly conversation.  It was clear that he was not living in the past but rather that he enjoyed revisiting it when allowed the opportunity.

It was hot in the sauna and my soft self was cooking.  Joe on the other hand shared that he frequently would stay in the bake box for up to an hour.  I would be no match.

So as I reached for a conversational landing spot, I shared that Joe may have been more of a role model than he realizes or let’s on.  He pursued a mostly self directed career which allowed him greater and greater flexibility and freedom as he progressed.  He retired comfortably and on his terms in his early 60’s to a luxury community in south Florida where he enjoys daily jaunts to a resort club and spa and pool.

He tried to shake off my compliment but it somehow lacked the conviction of his earlier commentary.  I like to think that smiled inside saying to himself, “It’s good to be Joe”.

Meanwhile, as I escaped to cooler climates, I was saying to myself, “One day, I want to be Joe“.

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