When I was a little child I was not so fond of swimming. My mother tells stories of me fighting with the swim teacher and “bargaining” over what I would and would NOT do in the water. I must have been 3, maybe 4 years old, at the time. I was happy to splash around with my father in the pool, but I did not want to take lessons, particularly from a woman who wore clown face make-up (it was not her fault, she had to cover up from the sun and she tried to make it more fun, but it was really just scary looking).
Thankfully, I was able to overcome my dislike of the water. In fact, I came to love being in the water and spending hours each day during the summer at our local swimming pool. It was a wonderful way to spend the days and created so many great memories. When I got older my parents forced me (yes, FORCED) to join the local swim team. I grumbled along for a year or two and then suddenly discovered I was good (not great, but good). It felt amazing as I developed swimming confidence. It was the only sport that I did not completely suck at (pardon my expression, but it is true, I am not athletically inclined).
My coaches started to push me and, much to everyone’s surprise, my best stroke turned out to be Butterfly. It was hard work – really hard work…. but I was good at it. When I swam fly I felt as though I was literally flying across the pool – it was a great feeling. (It was also a great feeling to beat boys when I swam the stroke!) I did not have to win every time, however, even when I lost it was a wonderful outlet for me.
Sadly, I do not swim often anymore – the realities of life get in the way and we do not have easily accessible pools and, sadly, I do not make enough effort to go to the ones that are available. I never seem to crave the water, yet is seems that only when I am lucky enough to be in it I realize just how much I missed it.
Today, 104 days ’til 40, I am thankful I grew up in California, where swimming pools abound and I was able to be in the water constantly.