Hello readers. I am happy to report that my broken ankle is healing. The doctor and physical therapist cleared me to begin swimming, so I happily returned to the pool. But before I share some new pool adventures, here’s what I learned while I wasn’t permitted to swim…I missed it. A. Lot.
When I was healing, I missed the exercise and the mental clarity that came from being in the water. I always knew that I enjoyed being near water, but when I began swimming regularly, I finally found my favorite form of exercise. Thirty-minutes in the water seemed to fly by compared to 30 minutes on a treadmill. What a blessing to find a form of exercise that brings me joy. I know that many of you found your exercise joy a long time ago, but in this case, I am a VERY late bloomer.
For those of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning, you will remember that my first trip to the pool was not smooth. Getting used to pool culture took some time. On December 8th, I returned to the pool. When I walked through the locker room door to the pool deck, I was greeted with hellos and waves from my fellow swimmers and pool walkers. They didn’t question where I had been, they were just happy to see me return. That warmed my heart and helped me to realize that I had been welcomed into the “club” of early morning swimmers.
On a recent morning swim, the pool was crowded with pool walkers and lap swimmers. I was swimming the backstroke next to the wall in the 3-ft. deep area . Yes, I still have conversations with myself about breathing and trying to not drown, but I usually feel confident. On this morning, there was a 30ish year old man swimming freestyle right next to me. Several times during the swim, he would splash water on my face, which set me in panic mode…“cough, choke, don’t drown, keep breathing.” Needless to say, swimming that day was not fun for me until that guy finally got out of the pool.
Fortunately, the pool wasn’t crowded for the next few days. My lap swimming went well and my ankle was beginning to hurt less. I went to swim the Thursday before Christmas and the pool was nearly empty. I got in my lane and was having a great swim, until I got splashed. I really dislike water in my face. I swim backstroke, because I don’t like having my face in the water. Remember, I have breathing, drowning issues.
Anyway, I ignored getting splashed. I figured that guy was back and hoped he wouldn’t swim very long. A couple minutes later I was splashed again. I was frustrated, but tried to be patient. On the next lap, I was splashed in the face again (“cough, choke, don’t drown”). I stopped swimming, stood up to clear out my nose and looked around to see who kept splashing me. In the pool with me was a lap swimmer and a pool walker, both in the far lanes by the opposite pool wall. No one was swimming anywhere close to me. Not one, single human being.
I resumed swimming, thinking through the splashing issue and it finally hit me, literally. I was swimming faster than I had in the past and I was splashing my OWN face. I was the person causing water to get up my nose. Hmph! Well I’ll be damned.
I did some thinking while continuing to swim, albeit less vigorously. I was the person disrupting my peaceful swim. Did I need to change my technique? Was this part of swimming and would I need to get used to it? I began chuckling at myself (which one CAN do when swimming the backstroke). I remembered how just a few days ago I was so upset with the guy who kept splashing me, when in reality, it was probably ME splashing me.
I let those questions sit, without further consideration. However, while swimming laps today I was lost in my daydreams when THIS thought occurred to me: In how many other circumstances do I get in my own way? Think about it, splashing water made it hard for me to breathe and disrupted a peaceful swim. Are there other ways that I am making my life harder than it needs to be? What about you and your life journey?
As the new year approaches, people often make resolutions. A quick Google search finds many different articles that say New Year’s resolutions are not always effective strategies for personal improvement. Perhaps a new strategy for Tinkering With Success is to stop making our lives harder than they need to be. Let’s consider the ways that we might be “splashing” ourselves and look for a smoother path.
Wishing you (and me) a splash-free 2017.