I learned to swim a year and a half ago.
It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to—I had just never done it. I had paid hundreds of dollars to listen in and watch my youngest take swim lessons and train with a club team.
I’ve trained as a stroke and turn judge so I could identify a legal stroke. I’ve endured many sauna-like venues sharing the same humid space with hundreds of others. I’ve languished away on scorching metal bleachers willing the Meet Director to announce an adult-only swim session.
Yet, I never swam myself until the summer of 2015. That day I sat in a climate-controlled pool and watched my daughter go back and forth for 17 minutes as she competed in the mile.
I can do that. I should do that. I should at least try. Maybe I should even get in the water once.
Not swim a mile mind you but get in the pool and actually try all those strokes and drills I’d listened in on and witnessed the past 10 years.
That next day I bought some goggles, a cap and a kickboard and biked down to the neighborhood pool as soon as it opened, and I jumped in. Okay, it was only 3-feet deep, but I did jump in and water splashed my face.
This pool closed soon after for the season so now my only choice was to swim in a nearby indoor pool which is where real swimmers, you know, actually swim. I tested the water with my toes, splashed myself a few times, adjusted my goggles, and I jumped in. It’s been 15 months since that time. I’m no Katie Ledecky, but I’d call myself a bonafide flimmer (flailing swimmer).
Not long ago I was suited and ready to take the plunge. I stood on the edge of the pool, dipped my toes, splashed my body, adjusted my goggles, dipped my toes, adjusted my goggles. The guy in the next lane interrupted my procrastination ritual by baiting me,
“Are you going to jump in or not?”
That day I decided I was done with the delay tactics and chose to be an all or nothing kind of girl and jumped in.
Now here I am jumping in to the overcrowded pool of bloggers (over 100 million). I may be a little late to the meet, but I’m taking the plunge nonetheless. In fact, I’ve learned a few lessons on writing and life in general from my swimming chronicles.
It’s never to late to learn something new. There will always be swimmers with bigger names, more masterful strokes and better endurance than I. But just because I missed the opportunity to swim in my younger years that doesn’t disqualify me from training hard and honing my skills today. Even though I didn’t graduate with a Journalism or English degree, it doesn’t disqualify me to write today (although it sure would have helped).
Perseverance breeds results. Swimming can be tiring and sometimes even painful. Some days I wonder if I’ll even make it across the pool and back. Yet, when I decide to keep swimming, if even a few laps, I always feel better. Looking back, I can see progress from the days at the neighborhood pool. The same is true of sitting my bottom down at the computer and punching away at the keys. When I actually start writing, words flow and thoughts spark.
Fear is always lurking. Rushing water has been a fear of mine and even though the pool is not a raging river, I still carried a sense of dread when plunged under water. After spectating the sport for so long, though, I had to decide if I was going to continue to watch others swim or choose to join them. I’m glad I jumped in (to both the pool and the world of blogging). I’m not naive enough to think that Mr. Fear won’t show up again. I’ve learned, though, that on the other side of fear is a wide, open space full of adventure. I want to spend more time there.
Work within your God-given talent. I would be remiss to say that unlike my swimming adventure, this writing journey is irrefutably passion-driven and grace-gifted by God. My “Bachelor of Business of Administration” diploma attests to that fact. I’m finding great joy and a sense of purpose in this gifting.
I’m jumping in, but I’ll not be on my own as the cursor moves back and forth, and back and forth down the rows of white space bordered by only the margins. Why? Because I know the One who is with me, working in me and through me.
Have you recently started a new adventure? I hope you’ll share one thing you learned or hope to learn!