Friday, February 12, 2016

Journey to swimming

One of the most liberating things I have experienced in my life is swimming.

As a child, I was a non-swimmer. I remember going to beaches and staying away from the water because I was scared of how the sand would move under my feet and threatening to pull me to the sea.

Later, I would follow my friends to swimming pools but while they played at the deep end, I would be wading at the shallow end, too terrified to join them.

I never quite figured out how they were able to float in water.

Things were pretty much the same for the most part of my adult life. I remember watching Olympic swimming events on tv, thinking wow those guys sure are brave because they were able to swim the entire length of the pool.

I remember wishing I could be like them.

After my first divorce, I had a lot of time to be by myself and to reflect on what was it that I was going to do with my life.

One day, I wrote a list of the kind of person I would become in five years time, and one of the items on the list was I would be a damn good swimmer. Good enough to save people.

I didn't know yet at that time how I was going to achieve it. All I knew was I wanted to some day be able to swim. To be able to manipulate water. That water would no longer be something to be feared. That water would be friend.

I shared that list with a group of friends over email and soon forgot all about it.

Then one day, someone introduced me to scuba diving. Invited me to an island to try scuba. Till today, I don't know why I said yes to that invitation. I was afraid of deep water. I thought I would not make it back from that trip alive.

I went, and survived the experience and in fact developed a liking for it. A year later, I became a scuba diver. My scuba instructor insisted that I took proper lessons in swimming after my certification. I said yes, because I didn't want to be a diver who could not swim. It didn't sound right.

And thus began my first proper lesson in swimming.

I started going to to the pool every week. Braved the Federal Highway after-work traffic week in, week out, to get there. After a while, I realised I was the only one from that batch of new divers who kept coming to the pool.

My perseverance paid off. A few years later, I got good enough at swimming to be able to take up a lifesaving course and passed the exam.

So yes, I was finally a swimmer, and a good enough one to be able to save people. And yes, that was some five years after I wrote that list thing.

I guess the point of this story is to have the courage to admit to the world what it is that you want.

And after you have stated what you want, you make a decision. In my case, the decision was to get good at swimming.


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