Last night I finally got back in the pool again. It’s been about three years since I last swam at my community pool and it was quite a struggle just to get there. My original plan was to begin swimming in early January, but I caught a terrible cold followed by a dry cough that just didn’t want to go away, which ultimately delayed my return.
I was away from swimming for a long time because I got caught up writing my book Victory Lap Retirement. I’ve always had the bad habit of going “all-in” on a new endeavor. It consumed me, which is not a very good thing, and there are consequences to living like that. More importantly my wife the Contessa didn’t take it very well. Something about getting up every morning at 4:30 to write and then falling asleep on the couch around 9:00 every night, probably had something to do with it!
I was so caught up in writing the book over the last three years, that my health slowly deteriorated and I gained 39lbs. Many writers, like me, feel the need to graze as they work, so there was a price to pay for those extra calories in order for me to get my health back. On a side note, I also missed getting into my old jeans…. We have been apart far too long!
Getting back in the pool was also important as I was feeling like a hypocrite. I talk about how important it is to live a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, but I was not practicing what I preached. It is also difficult to stand on stage presenting to an audience, while trying to hold your stomach in for an extended period of time. I thought back to my old corporate job, where I hadn’t been myself for the longest time. I unfortunately was whoever they wanted me to be, but now I’m free and it’s important for me to be the me I want to be, so off to the pool I go.
I won’t lie it’s hard for me to get to the pool in the dead of winter. I don’t like the cold winters in Canada and it is starting to get to me. Maybe it is the lack of sunlight or maybe it’s because I just don’t like swimming all that much. Swimming is hard, it hurts and I’m not very good at it but swimming is a must if I want to get into shape again.
There are other benefits I get from going to the pool, I get to hang out with people I enjoy, that I haven’t seen for a while, and who have similar healthy lifestyle goals. Swimming also serves as a form of active meditation for me. Meditation is good for the soul, but I can’t meditate in the traditional sense where you sit crossed legged in a quiet room. The first reason, I don’t have the flexibility to sit crossed legged, and even if I could it just feels weird to me. But when I’m swimming those long lengths up and down the pool my mind quiets and I start to think and focus on whatever I have top of mind. Swimming is therapeutic for me and the only challenge that I have now is getting to that damn pool!
My new mantra is: “just show up”, because I know if I “just show up”, good things will happen. Just showing up will allow me to get those old jeans on again. Just showing up will give me the energy that I will need to accomplish all the things on my Top Ten List My Year End Review
Just showing up will allow me to accomplish one of my goals this year- swimming across the lake at the cottage with my son. That accomplishment will put a big smile on both our faces and that is what life is all about isn’t it?
So I went to bed last night with the smell of chlorine in my hair, my body hurting from the exercise, but it was a good hurt because it meant that I had finally just showed up!