Keeping up a weekly swim blog is hard work. What if nothing exciting or momentous happens in a given week? What if many momentous things happen, but they don’t necessarily relate to swimming?
Or maybe…swimming should be my metaphor of moving through things in the medium of water.
I am going through a lot of things in my life right now. A deep breath.
- I’m newly separated and adjusting to that both well and terribly
- I have a wonderful new job that presents a big blue sky of opportunity but also a steep learning curve and a big chance to do something great – and as a work motivated person, this is so important to me. But yeah. Pressure!
- I definitely have a form of PTSD from my previous job
- I have a teenager who is moving through her own changes and challenges, and doing a far better job of it than I did at the same age
- I am new to this whole world of my own financial management and planning and this presents its own steep learning curve and uncertainty
- I am preoccupied with my health and feeling a bit of fear. Well, maybe not just a bit. I have some terrible habits and some shite genetics
- My lawn needs mowing and my deck needs painting and OH GOD THE WEEDS
- My beloved new wetsuit gives me awful neck chafe and it looks like I’m spending a lot of time in dirty chambers of sex bondage
- I’m not spending any time in dirty chambers of sex bondage
So – to just go out and swim through it all? Sometimes it seems overwhelming.
I like to solve problems, and I also have a tremendous need for growth and change. The stability of a regular swimming practice is working well for me, even as the rest feels sometimes like a radio in my head that I can’t tune in.
How can I apply what I am doing with swimming to the rest of a messy life?
(I am not complaining, but working through the mess. And I realize these are first world problems and I recognize my great privilege…and YES I am still a proud Social Justice Warrior.)
For example – I have set a pretty audacious distance goal for this summer. 12K – all at once, in Skaha Lake – on August 12! I am trying to train for this somewhat systematically, by sticking to a plan. I try to make the plan interesting by swimming in different places. I commit to the plan by focusing on it and creating boundaries so that I don’t let myself down, even though that means I’m not getting as much variety in my activities as I would normally like (sorry, mountain bike). I’m now up to 7K in training. I’ve mapped out a few lake swims ahead of time so that I don’t have to confront the greater training distances in a 25 metre pool. I read about training. I try new stuff. I make different playlists. I approach the question of whether I can actually do it as more of a biology experiment than a test of my worth.
And if I do have to let myself down in training – whether that’s because of work travel, illness, etc, because it HAPPENS – how am I dealing with that so as to not become discouraged and fall into old patterns of negativity? Well, I simply rearrange my schedule and get back on track. Or I take a wee break to let my body get better. Or I visualize my swims and wear my cap and goggles while in the bath. Or I pee my pants just like I’d do in my wetsuit. I don’t quit or cancel events…I reconcile myself with simply getting there and showing up and trying to have the best experience possible.
The Across the Lake Swim happens this upcoming weekend, and I am nervous and apprehensive. I am as trained up as I could possibly be, but I haven’t swum this event very fast or very happily the last 2 years. There is this combination of dread and wonder….will I be slow but finish strong? Will my new wetsuit make a big difference in my comfort level? Will I be able to turn on the juice at 1K vs my usual 3K? No matter what, I’m going to show up at the race package pickup on Friday night, smiling and excited to get this year’s commemorative towel! I’m going to drown my fears in oodles of noodles so that I have loads of energy. I’m going to support my other family members doing the swim by slapping their butts and being annoying with unspent energy.
Why is it hard to apply these balanced and mature tactics to other areas of life?
Am I overthinking it? 😉
UPDATE: I MOWED THE LAWN, DAD!