Lap Lessons – by Robin

I accomplished a goal this week…or “sort-of.”

For those who follow my blog, I’ve written about my on-going mission to swim across my local pool this summer doing the freestyle stroke. I just learned to swim (I could previously only do the breast stroke and backstroke), and I never thought it would happen.

Up until last summer, I had no desire to ever put my head in the water. In fact, I dreaded it. The chlorine turned me off, and I just didn’t have any interest. Swimming was not high on my to do list.

Things changed. As I watched swimmer after swimmer do laps…no matter their age….a lightbulb went off. I had to do it. I decided I wanted to one day be one of the seniors in the pool (G-d willing) doing laps. It struck me that swimming knows no age. Once you master it, it’s yours, and what great exercise.

So, I bought my first pair of goggles. Hated them….got another pair that worked better for me. Tried a swim cap…..still don’t love that….but now I at least tie my hair back.

I could only put my face in the water with a nose plug, which I really didn’t like. With the help of a friend of one of the local lifeguards, he convinced me to try dropping the nose plug, and now I no longer need it.

So, this summer I tackled the pool determined to learn to swim…and I did! And, I’m told I have a nice stroke, that is feeling more ‘n more natural to me. I’m in love.

The water clears my head and gets my heart pumping. I feel my arms working, and my back stretching, and it feels great.

Now I’m working on breathing. I’m getting there….but still have not mastered it.

As the summer nears the end….I’ve been a bit dismayed. I’m not confident that I’ll be able to get the breathing down, therefore, I was making peace with the fact that I would not likely meet my goal of getting across the pool.

That changed yesterday. The head lifeguard at the pool, who has been so supportive and encouraging and helpful, suggested that I focus on just getting across, even if it means floating or swimming on my back a bit and then continuing the freestyle…but at least not stopping completely in the pool as I’d been doing at the 5 feet mark.

I tried that yesterday, but it felt somewhat awkward.

Today I got the idea that I could start out swimming freestyle and then switch to the breast stroke if need be (so I can breathe), and then go back to the freestyle.

Well…it worked! I did it! While I’m still not entirely comfortable in the deep water, I persevered. What an adrenaline rush!

And, it taught me a huge life lesson that I want to share with you.

No matter what your goal in life….if you can’t get there exactly as you planned when you hoped for…perhaps there’s another way to get there….even if it means shifting your goal a bit. And, if you can make strides that way, and you remain on your path, you will likely get what you ultimately aspire to do. Even if it take a bit longer, so what?! There’s a lot to be said for the day-to-day achievement and to pat yourself on the back for how far you have come.

I’m a swimmer now….and who ever thought I’d call myself that?!

And, I can race my son in the pool and be an example to him of how it’s never too late to learn something. Why says you can’t teach an old dog (or later mom) new tricks?!

So….what’s on your list that feels unattainable?! Go for it!! (and your kids will love you for it.)