In the swim

Hello, friends. I’ve recently discovered something that I think I love: swimming.

Until a few months ago, I would never have gone swimming for pleasure. It was something I did only when strictly necessary, like during my children’s swimming lessons. I told myself that I disliked chlorine, that I didn’t want to get swimmer’s ear, that public swimming pools festered with germs, that I preferred hiking and yoga. But the truth is that I was a poor swimmer. Why would I voluntarily do something I was bad at?

As a child, I was afraid of the water. My mother taught me one stroke (breaststroke) well enough to ensure that I wouldn’t drown, then let it go. And for decades, I stayed out of the pool. But a few months ago, I decided to take some lessons. I had some goals: to learn front crawl, to clean up my breaststroke, and to learn the eggbeater kick in order to tread water without using my arms. I decided it was time to acknowledge being a bad swimmer and – the “no duh” moment – improve at it.

It’s still a work in progress. My breaststroke is a lot more efficient. My front crawl, while far from good, exists in a slow way. And the eggbeater kick continues to elude me. But it’s my attitude that’s been revolutionized. I LOVE my swimming lessons. I love analyzing the strokes and working on small details. I love incremental improvement. I love that while in the pool, an hour can feel like 20 minutes. I love the warm glow of mild muscle fatigue. And I love how well I sleep the night of a good swim.

Swimming is one of my favourite things right now, and I’m so very glad that I decided to challenge myself. And this is the whole point, right? To keep learning. To resist complacency. And to become one of those little old ladies who can swim 50 serene lengths without getting her perm wet.

Okay, maybe not the perm.

What about you, friends? What are you learning at the moment?

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4 Responses to “In the swim”

  1. Cat London says:

    I am relearning roller derby! I’m coming back to derby from pregnancy leave with figurative guns a-blazin’! (Weapons are not permitted in derby.) I’m so committed that I’m working on my footwork in the shower and kitchen and I’ve just ordered a book on sport psychology. If you told me a few years ago I would be trying this hard at a SPORT, I would have laughed myself off my (uncoordinated) feet. Good for us!

  2. Ying says:

    Hurray for you, Cat! I bet attitude counts as a weapon in derby.

  3. Anna says:

    I’m learning discipline in writing. I’ve always loved writing but have not been doing much of it until recently (various life events and a writer friend of mine are to thank for helping to relight the spark) and while finding the time and energy to write every day is difficult, I’m finding that the more I do it (even if only a short time) the easier it is to slip back into the story and pick up where I left off the day before, most of time. Huzzah!

  4. Ying says:

    I think you’ve found the one real trick, Anna: it’s all about diligence. Huzzah to you, and I hope your project has wings!

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