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My Third Place

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Do you have a "third place"? A place where you always feel welcome and accepted? Where there are no particular demands place upon you by anyone but you yourself? Where you can be social or silent, depending upon your mood?

Most of us have "two places" where we belong: work and home. But that third place can be a great alternative from the demands and responsibilities of both work and home.

That's what my gym is for me. My third place.

I've been a member of the same gym for well over 30 years. There are people there whose names I don't necessarily know, but I know them, have known them for years. They share some important values with me: fitness matters to them too. And we can talk, or not, whatever we feel like on a particular day.

Exercise is important. Of course it is. It doesn't, frankly, help me much with weight loss or weight maintenance. But it does help with strength, cardio fitness, toning. And above all it helps with mood. It keeps me feeling optimistic.

Some of that is the effect of the endorphins which exercise releases, certainly. A natural high which for me works way better than anti-depressants!

But a whole lot of it is simply that my gym is my third place.

I never particularly want to go. But I'm always so glad that I did.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Just catching up on blogs and I love this..I think walking out on the prairie is my third place, but my ranch is also my home and my work and my third place...is that possible? If not maybe my third place is Walmart?? haha...
    2173 days ago
    I've really enjoyed reading about everyone's "third places" -- and it all made me appreciate my gym even more yesterday!

    Another "third place" (is that possible) is my golf course for me . . . cross country in skiing, birdwatching (and the occasional swing of a club) in summer. I'll be out there later today!!
    2175 days ago
    My third place is with my kids... their house!
    2178 days ago
  • NANCY-
    I love the way you described it. Thank you for this... my third place is the pool, where I should have gone last night.
    2178 days ago
  • CANNIE50
    I so enjoyed this blog, and your description of your gym and the feeling it evokes. I do go to a gym and it is nice to feel welcomed. I am envious of the length of time you have been at the same gym. I have bounced around a bit, depending on my schedule and what location makes sense for a particular stage of my life (often geared around kids). I so agree with the "I don't always want to go but am always glad I went" sentiment. Often, with many things, the getting there is harder than the actual being there. emoticon
    2178 days ago
    I love the name - and I am in need of really finding one again. I guess my third place is our walking paths on our quarter section. The only problem is sometimes in worst of winter, or now when the ticks are so incredibly bad I don't feel "comfortable" ;P being in my own third place.

    Excellent blog. Thanks! Have yourself a wonderful day, hope you get to enjoy your third place. CJ
    2178 days ago
    Love your third place!
    The authors of Younger Next Year would beg to differ on the weight loss. Their theme is: exercise + no junk food = weight loss.
    2178 days ago
    30 years! I'm only beginning my 2nd year with mine, but have been building a sense of camaraderie and community. I also bring flyers from SparkPeople and my local bike club to the fitness center to share with others and to encourage others to extend THEIR communities as well!

    My other "third place" would be the great outdoors in all its varieties and seasons! :-)

    2178 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/3/2012 8:25:31 AM
    My third place is my daughter's. I always get a warm fuzzy feeling when I walk through the door.

    Thanks for the response to the stress ball. My hubbies work actually gave everyone a stress ball, not sure if that said a lot about the level of stress or whether they were being well meaning.

    Hands are behaving not too bad but I am wearing my splint today and having two days off, mostly because there is so much chaos I need to do a heap of sorting out. One thing that is a bonus is stuff that has been hidden away has come into the light bringing wonderful memories with it. Then the decision, to say goodbye or to keep.
    2178 days ago
    Don't think I have an "official" third place, but I think you're right, the gym would be a great one to start considering in my mind... particularly the pool!
    2178 days ago
    Me too. The gym.
    2179 days ago
    emoticon The gym??? I was thinking more like a cabin far away....hidden in a forest and close to a beautiful lake....but you say a gym??!! emoticon
    emoticon that's awesome Ellen...and i was only kidding 'up there'!! I don't go to a gym..anymore....but i do always feel so much better after my workouts!! We ROCK!! emoticon emoticon
    2179 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/2/2012 10:13:38 PM
    I love this idea. My County Recreation Center is my third place. I do my yoga and strength training there. Sometimes I use the treadmill or elliptical. Now that I am almost retired, I plan to volunteer there so i get my pass for free. I'd like to start water aerobics, too, and maybe a spin class. It really is a 2nd home for me.

    Of course, after I retire, I won't have a work place, so maybe the Rec Center will be my 2nd place.
    2179 days ago
    Great blog! Another new perspective -- I certainly had never thought of my gym that way. Love the way you think! -Marsha
    2179 days ago
    Great perspective!!!!! I don't have a "third place", but after reading your blog, I think I should find one.
    Thanks for giving me something to think about.
    2179 days ago
    My third place is my Saturday morning running/breakfast group. In addition to run, food and conversation, it has become a social network of sorts. No demands, very casual.

    I also have a pub with a very active group of English Premier League followers, many of whom are British and Irish expatriates. If they are not tied for third they run a very close fourth.

    Also, check out my latest blog for details on my troublesome toe...
    2179 days ago
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