The last two years of high school I did a lot of thinking staring at people's feet, watching bubbles and attempting not to drown on swim team. Lap swimming takes the burden off my joints and relocates it to my brain. I think and think and think - sometimes about things better left in the past, ideas that need polishing and check in with my tiring body.
I no longer have the honor to call myself the proud owner of an athlete's body. The years I have spent sedentary had a ridiculous interest rate, one I can no longer afford to pay. Yesterday I shaved off the the-married-with-child leg hair and poured myself into a black one piece swimsuit and then I found them, my goggles - it was then I knew I had no more excuses.
I put my things into the locker, rinsed off and found myself sitting on the poolside ten minutes before lap swim was to begin. It was open pool time and teenagers enjoyed the slide, played water polo and channeled their inner dolphin and Olympic divers. Sitting awkwardly on the cold bench beside the pool got less lonely with the deep water exercisers arrived. Small talk broke the remaining eight minutes into a distracted, "oh it smells nice in here" randomness that made me internally sigh with relief.
This isn't rubber duckie time, and the pool's sharp cool water is a clear reminder of that. There was nothing else to do now, I was suited up, my baby was happily hanging out with her Dad, and I was inches away from getting in the pool. Time to buck assumptions and get in. So I did, I lowered myself in, adjusted my goggles, treaded to get used to the temperature and joined in swimming with a mix group of folks. Once going, the water wasn't cold, cool or even uncomfortable. I had worried about the chlorine but found myself swimming in a low chlorine sodium bicarbonate pool. 35 minutes in and I my body called for the check. I was mentally and physically exhausted, and that was a welcomed feeling. No longer was my brain mush while my body still read full charge. I went home and rested.
The lesson I am reminded once again is that assumptions are typically wrong. I didn't need to show up to the pool in perfect athletic shape, nor was there any issue with the temperature, chlorine, leaving my baby or even having the perfect gym bag. What matters at the end is that the water is given a fair assessment by getting in and investing time. In the long term it isn't so much an investment into exploring if the pool is a good place to swim or if I will have a good time but an investment in my health, attitude and perspective on life.