I really can’t swim. My parents took me for swim lessons at the local YMCA when I was younger. I remember my cute matching lion swimsuit, being in the wrong swim group, crying, and a shark. Matching? My sister and I are two years apart and we were often dressed the same. She likes to tell people I’m her older sister. I let her get away with that once a year, on her birthday. Wrong swim group? The most frightened child was in with the advanced swimmers by mistake. Crying? I was scared to death of the water. Shark at the YMCA? One of the instructors thought it would be funny to wear a fin in the water. So not only can I not swim, I am afraid.
I jumped off a high dive at a library event once; I was 20 years old. We were having a celebratory pool party at the local recreation center for the end of the summer reading program. I was trying to lead the way for all the kids who were afraid to go on the high dive. I was at the edge of the high dive and realized I had no clue how I got up there. I was scared and wanted to go back. But there was a line of kids behind me – waiting. So I did the only thing I could do. I did it. I held my nose and jumped.
Go to the edge.
Look over and debate your next step.
And jump in!
I go to the local indoor pool five times a week. I water walk. I dog paddle. I do creative physical therapy type of exercises in the pool with water weights and stretch bands. It’s creative because I’ve taken what my awesome physical therapists have taught me on land – and adapted it to the pool. People stop me and ask questions. So I must look pretty odd – or creative. I was five years old when brought to the YMCA for swim lessons. Now when I enter the pool, I remember the feeling of being scared, alone, and afraid of drowning. I still look for sharks. But, I take a moment to look around my current surroundings. I breathe and stretch. I watch the sunrise. I smile at the other people around. Slowly, I push out thoughts and allow each movement and each breath to take over. And when life gets stressful, my mind goes back to the the sunrise. I breathe. I stretch. I smile at the people around me.
The past is in the past for a reason. It’s true. If I had decided to not jump off the diving board that day, I would have had to walk around and over a lot of people. I would have had to climb down the stairs – embarrassed, humiliated, and wondering ‘what if’. It’s the same in life. Your path is in front of you, not behind you. Take risks. Dream big. Find your passion. Don’t walk on people. Lead. Be fearless. Be confident. Breathe in the world around you. And step forward.
I leave you with some of my favorite messages from my Pinterest board for inspiration and reflection. Remember, you have to get in the pool if you want to learn how to swim.
~I’m here to help