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Tom Compton, Student Affairs, UC Davis campus--not block

From fitness to friendship and travel

Tom and Mary Jo Compton visit Japan's Mt. Fuji, 2016

When I retired after 40 years in a variety of roles in Student Affairs, my wife and I wanted to continue with active recreation and do more traveling. We knew from previous travel experience that staying reasonably fit is essential to enjoying whatever one wants to do in retirement.

To that end, we joined a program in Campus Recreation designed for people over 55. Our aim was to stay in shape. We joined a group of about 20 people in 2009, and that group has grown to more than 60 today. Classes are offered every weekday morning. We found new friends, and reconnected with old friends in this common pursuit. But we gained much more than muscle tone. We began regularly to stay after class with 10-15 others and enjoy coffee together while solving the world’s problems and sharing stories of our experiences. Soon we found common interests, and informal sub-groups formed. Some go hiking; others ride bikes to Winters once a month; many have traveled together. We have potluck events 3-4 times each year and attendance regularly exceeds 75 people. In sum, we have a wonderful group of people who have become almost family.

In the past five years, Mary Jo and I have visited Russia, Peru, Africa, Europe and, most recently, Japan, all with others from our Fit for Life group. We have more fun than should be allowed and have made memories that are priceless. We have a group of 20 planning our next adventure to Scotland in 2018.

April 18, 2017