Font ResizeA A A

Jim Johnston and Barbara Rosenberg - 2012 Honoree

A story about health and love—Jim, 81, and Barbara, 79, both worked out three times a week and met at CHF. They had both given up on finding love again, but luckily fate had something much more exciting awaiting them.

The Blue Zones Project is a community-wide initiative to create healthier, happier and more productive citizens. This Project aims to create a Beach Cities community where walking and bike riding is easier and convenient, and making nutritious food more accessible.  It also emphasizes the importance of socializing and working within the community.

Many residents living in the original Blue Zones areas share nine healthy lifestyle habits that help them live longer, healthier, happier lives. Of these nine lifestyles, focuses on the “Right Tribe” – where having a social circle that promotes healthy lifestyles is important to maintaining a healthy lifestyle yourself.  And this is where the “love story” begins.

Center for Health & Fitness (CHF) member Barbara Rosenberg, 79, is a native Californian and a proud mother of two children, Patrick and Kelly, and grandmother to six.  Barbara is also a volunteer at Little Company of Mary Hospital.  Jim Johnston, 81, and also a CHF member was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, moved to California in 1943.  He has three children, Patti, Jim and Dan and five grandchildren.  Barbara had been single for 13 years, and Jim has been a widower for 5.  Both had pretty much given up on finding romance again.  Luckily, fate had something much more exciting awaiting them.

On a chilly January 2012 morning, the two showed up to work out at CHF.  They saw each other, spoke briefly, then proceeded to work out on various pieces of equipment.  Barbara overheard Jim telling someone about a 1937 Chevy that he is restoring.  Before she left that day, she told him that she had an interesting article she thought he would enjoy.  She offered to email it to him if he would give her his email address. He did…she did…and she also included her phone number in the email address. Soon he called and they went out for dinner.

They began sharing candlelight dinners two or three times a week, and a Date Night with dinner out weekly became (and continues to be) part of their schedule.  Jim and Barbara quickly knew that what they had was very special.  “When we first met at the gym, by the third time we were together, he told me that he loved me,” Barbara smiled and said.

Jim continued the story, “I proposed to her on the treadmill.  We started talking and I asked her if she would consider getting married?”  After Barbara accepted, the relationship moved quickly.  In July, they went shopping for matching wedding bands.

On a beautiful morning in August, eight months after they met, Jim and Barbara drove to Vegas where they married in the Chapel of the Bells. 

After their honeymoon, the couple came back to a gym filled with well-wishers. Their joy is infectious. One day at an ice cream store a young woman stepped up and, before Jim could pay, she said, “I’m paying for your ice cream.  You two are so cute and filled with joy!”

Friends of Barbara and Jim that meet three times a week to work out at CHF and for coffee in the first floor café as well as other members are inspired by the love that these two share. They exemplify what the Blue Zones Project is all about. They make their health a priority and part of their daily routine.  They work out regularly, eat right and stay engaged in the world around them.  Jim and Barbara are examples for all of us. Congratulations!