Happy Places

Happy Places: Swimming

This year I want to focus more on what makes me happy. On what gets me out of bed in the morning, what gives me extra spoons, what helps me get to the end of difficult days at work. So every now an again I will do a “Happy Places” post and share with you my happiness.

The first one I want to mention is,a s the title states, swimming.

When I lived on Kibbutz I swam a lot. The pool was magnificent, the air was humid and half the Kibbutz was training for “Crossing the Kineret”. Either 1.5km or 3km swim across the one side of the Sea of Galilee. I was training for the 3km but sadly, a midnight asthma attack put an end to that and with only 2 weeks of training after 2 weeks of not training left, I went for the 1.5km instead.

After that swimming was an intermittent event. When you are overweight, the thought of stepping out in front of a whole bunch of people in gym clothes is scary, let alone a swimming costume. Eventually, without gym contracts or the impetus, swimming became a non entity in my life.

Last year this changed. We decided to augment the swimming lessons The Little Prince was taking by going to Long street Baths over the holidays. There were no classes for him and we wanted to keep him going so that his confidence in the water would grow.

The first time I didn’t even bother bringing my swimming costume and let The Husband do the “lesson” alone. I regretted it terribly, I wanted to be in the water too and instead I was sitting on my phone, participating only by photographing it all.

The next day I went to go buy a pair of goggles, I dug in my cupboard for my cozzie and the next time we went I was ready to swim too. I didn’t have much time to dwell on my insecurities as I was alone with The Little Prince this time.

What a far cry from the girl who swam 1.5km, or even 6 years before who managed 26 laps. 4…I managed 4 and I actually thought I would die on the first one. Literally, midway through the first lap, my thoughts were “I am going to drown right here”

I didn’t stop there though, I kept going and the improvement was sharp. Honestly, for someone who needs to see tangible proof of improvement, swimming is one of the best things to do. Week after week I pushed just a little more to get huge results.

My friend Diana saw my posts and shared an article with me of an open water swimmer who get’s lost in thought on his swims. I laughed as I was using every brain cell to keep floating and going, counting my strokes, keeping my hips up, remembering to kick. I was looking forward to all this being a subconscious effort so my mind could have space to wander. Still there is something relaxing about having to be in the very moment, keeping yourself moving and alive.

When my accident happened and I heard my wrist snap, the first thought that came to mind was “Shit, I won’t be able to swim!” and for 8 weeks I didn’t, I couldn’t. I was sad and longing for the cool, refreshing hug of the water, the slight burn of chlorine in my nose, the smiling faces of the fellow swimmers as we each push our own boundaries to reach our personal bests.

The minute I could be, I was back and surprised that 8 weeks did not slow me down, the sheer joy of being back kept me afloat and I hadn’t lost a second off my previous best time. 2nd time after the accident I upped my distance to 600m (500m previously) and you know what…somewhere in the middle of the pool the thought “I am going to drown here” was replaced with the beginnings fo this blog article. Somewhere mid stroke, I switched to swimming unconsciously long enough to let my mind wander just a little…

 

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