14 Mar, 2017
By andrea tomkins in Misc. life
To review: every other Tuesday is my day off and I’m determined to use this time to recharge my batteries. No work, no meetings, minimal errands. If you recall, on my previous day off I went on a lovely photo walk in the woods.
In the comments of that post, Judy suggested a trip to one of Ottawa’s smaller museums for my next Tuesday excursion. Great idea! But then I looked at the calendar and realized that it was March Break and I did not want to deal with crowds. So I decided to go swimming instead.
I used to swim competitively. It was no biggie, really. I did it for a handful of years starting in middle school. Here I am, on my high school swim team (I’ll let you find me in this photo):
I wasn’t the fastest swimmer on my team, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the fact that it was a team sport that depended on individual results. I liked the feeling of water moving through my fingers. I liked the shutting out the world while I listened to nothingness underwater. I liked stretching my muscles and pushing myself to improve my time. I liked executing the perfect turn. I liked the smell of chlorine.
Fast forward to today: We live near a pool and I haven’t been swimming in ages. We used to bring the girls when they were small, but they haven’t been small for a long time. Last summer, with the thought of returning to swimming, I bought a modest one piece for lap swimming and a pair of goggles. And then I abandoned them in my closet.
Today, on this Tuesday, one of the coldest and most blustery, I decided to give it another chance. It was time to stop wondering if I should get back to swimming so I checked the schedule, packed up my gear, and made my way over to the pool.
The last time I went for a lap swim is etched in my memory. I went for a swim at this same pool, only to be informed by the lifeguard that one of the other swimmers had complained that I was splashing too much. I was so shocked that my words left me. Of course, in hindsight, I have come up with all kinds of clever things to say, including: “THIS IS A POOL. GET OVER IT.”
“I AM NOT SPLASHY.”
I never returned. That is, until today.
This is where I confess that this post was practically writing itself on the way to the pool. I was going to wear myself out (in a good way) by doing a bunch of laps, and then I was going to linger in the hot tub until it was time to go. It was going to the great.
Well, I lasted 20 minutes. The pool was being shared by an aqua-fitness class, which was fine, but this only meant that there was one clear place to swim next to the lane. Other swimmers (well, they weren’t swimming, just bobbing, really) were constantly drifting into the lane, oblivious to anything around them (e.g., me). I was not able to achieve any kind of zen. When I used to swim laps I thought about everything and nothing. It was so meditative! This time, it was boring. And I was too fixated on the other people in the pool and my frustration with them.
Note to self: an adult swim is not a lap swim.
I hoisted myself out of the pool and into the hot tub. After a few minutes of boiling myself (which was pretty nice) I woozily made my way to back to the change room. And THAT is when I remembered how much I hated getting changed after swimming, even when I WAS swimming. The cold. The shower. The wet hair, sticky bathing suit, and damp socks. Ugh.
I am officially throwing in the towel on lap swimming. You know what kind of swimming I do like? Paddling around in a gorgeous lake during our annual camping trips. Cooling myself in my inlaws outdoor pool on a stinking hot day. And that’s it.
Was this afternoon’s swim a waste of time and money? No. I now know I don’t like to swim laps anymore, and that’s ok. I wish I liked it, but I don’t anymore. Why do we force ourselves to like something we don’t? Perhaps it’s important to take some time to reevaluate the things that no longer make us happy and find something that does. Maybe, for me, it’s tennis lessons. I can’t wait to find out.