With more than 75% of the Earth being water I had one good reason to learn swimming. And a couple of reasons more.
I am a workaholic. I talk work, dream work, vacation (if at all) with work. I like working, but no matter how much I try to justify it, the truth is over the years it has depleted me. I’m on the wrong side of 25, but there is nothing else apart from studying and working that I have actually achieved in my life.
I don’t know how to ride a bike (And I carry this around like a scuzzy secret). I don’t excel in any sports. I used to be good at singing but never pursued it any further. I love cooking and the only thing that comforts me after a long day at work is my kitchen. Given a chance I would rather spend my whole day dreaming about creating and glorifying food, but that’s how far my virtual culinary bliss would extend, I know I can never make a career out of it.
The self-realisation that my tombstone would read “Just a workaholic” was very daunting and there had to be something else that I could learn and do well other than pipetting in the lab.
And that’s how I learned swimming. I am sure I hear people giggling over the fuss I am making out of learning something so seemingly trivial. Wait until you guys drown and I‘ll have the last laugh ;)
For years I waved off the idea of learning swimming. 1. I was too busy (crap, as now I create time for it). 2. Lack of good instructors (crap again, I found a brilliant one (actually husband did)) 3. It was embarrassing to start at this age 4. I was scared of water and on and on and on. Somehow, putting it off until eternity was my only plan of action.
And then marriage happened. And it brought along someone who patiently stood across the pool cheering me on until I mustered enough courage to dive in and brave the pool. They say behind every successful man there is a woman, but behind my swimming success is my man. The swimming lessons initially were a real bummer. They were annoying (getting up at 6 every Sat morning), exhausting (as hard as I tried, I would not budge a single mm from my original position), awkward (5 year olds whisking past you while you are only beating water to create ripples is not cool), smelly (that nauseating chlorine odour that clung to my body) and above all intimidating (fear of the unknown, yes no logic involved here whatsoever).
I had my share of challenges, big and small. But the day I let go of my instructor’s hand, got over my fear and glided across the pool until every cell in my body screamed out with pain, I knew I had achieved “something” more in my life. That was my first lane. And now I can’t stop doing it. I find myself yearning for the tranquillity that water offers. It’s peaceful to listen to my own breath and its reassuring that my body can follow it.
I am sure there’s a lot more to learn and I am far a cry from being technically all sound. But at least I know I won’t drown. I feel sad that my family is not here to actually see me doing it, but they are happy over the phone, and I can hear it in their voices.
Learning swimming has given me the confidence that it’s never really late to learn anything. There’s nothing worthier in life than surprising yourself with how much more you may achieve. Of course, it would be heaps of hard work and tonnes of fear to begin with. But the joy of adding that “something” more to your life will help you survive it all.
Next for me is riding a bike. I know I would fall, but there will be a day when I won’t fall anymore.
(Photo credit: UW Digital Collections)