This morning, Dutchie walked into the locker room and looked at me. “This is getting boring,” she said.
She was referring to our morning routine. I spend an hour pulling tires, running laps and doing weird push-ups with Boot Camp Las Vegas, before heading to the Henderson Multi-Gen to shower and get ready for work. Dutchie, 83, goes for a morning swim, sometimes followed by bridge or time with friends. We meet in the locker room, chat for a moment and then go about our days.
Today, though, Dutchie had an announcement. “I’m going to live to be 100,” she said. “Seventeen more years, then I’ll hang it up.”
I laughed and agreed with her, but she didn’t need any affirmation. There, in a textured black bathing suit with modest bedazzling worn over a thick-strapped bra, her gray hair pulled back in a tight ponytail, she exuded absolute confidence. “It’s been fun. I’ve had a good time. Seventeen more years, that’s enough.”
The more mornings I spend with Dutchie the more I look up to her—her positive attitude, her matter-of-fact demeanor, her full-throated determination to stay healthy by eating well, exercising often and living in a house with stairs. (This, she claims, is her secret.) The only time I’ve ever seen her ill, she was experiencing periodic dizzy spells, nearly fainting and feeling weak. Eventually her doctor diagnosed her with a sodium deficiency. She’d gone overboard on her low-salt diet.
Earlier this year, Dutchie stopped me one morning to whisper with sudden girliness that she had a new boyfriend. “He’s a bridge player. They’re the best ones,” she said. “I don’t love him, but I like him.”
I don’t know if she’s still dating him, and I don’t know if she’s still eating low-sodium food, or doing hot yoga or fasting one day a week. All I know is that she’s decided to live to be 100. And I believe that she’ll get there.