One of the biggest reasons I left the corporate world was to focus on my own personal health and wellness. The balance between good health and the corporate world was always a struggle for me. Sitting for 8 hours a day put me in a glacial state where I really didn’t have the energy to do much beyond sitting once I got home. I would always daydream about what kind of workouts I would do, given the flexibility of time and not having to rush back to an office where I had to be somewhat “presentable”. One of those workouts was swimming. My brother and I grew up swimming competitively on a summer league, where weekday mornings were spent at practice and weekends were spent at area swim meets. In fact, my brother is still a swim coach to this day.
I, however, took a rather long sabbatical from my days in the pool. Up until this past summer, I had not swam a lap in over 15 years. To say I was a bit nervous jumping back in the pool was an understatement. I was convinced I would sink considering how long it had been, let alone the anxiety of wearing a swimsuit in public. But my brother gave me a good beginner workout requiring a 600 yard swim and I was determined to give it a try, no matter how terrified I was. That first day I actually surprised myself. Although the water was cold, as I started swimming my heart began to fill with joy. Each lap reconnected me with memories of my youth. I discovered that the water energized me. I even surprised myself and did better than 600 yards. I made it to 800 yards on the very first day. Before I knew it, I was regularly making it to over 1000 yards and before the summer was over I achieved a personal best of 1800 yards!
While the water also energizes me, it has a soothing and calming quality too, which I desperately need as I continued to figure out what my life without mom is going to look like. I am able to shut the world out and be alone with my thoughts. And at the end of the day, completing a swim gives me some sense of accomplishment. The water also brought me back to some of the best parts of growing up. The memories of Mom taking us to practice every morning and her dedication in making sure we had a chance to succeed, somehow make me feel closer to her. When the last few laps become harder, it is her voice I hear telling me to “keep going, no matter how slow, just keep going……” I think this might be her way of telling me to do that in life as well…..that no matter how hard the day is or how slow we are moving, it is the effort to “keep going” that pays off in the end.