Lessons

I’m learning to swim at 25.

That’s kind of weird, isn’t it? I mean, I like to joke that I had a deprived childhood, but it wasn’t that deprived. I went to day camp during the summer. I did a few random things like taking a sewing class that surely cost a good bit of money. So I guess I just simply didn’t like it enough? to persuade my parents to put me in the pool.

I do remember one summer of lessons, but only one. I’ve been saying that I was 8, but really I think I must’ve been 9, because it was the summer that my mom was running a summer camp associated with my elementary school, and we all took lessons and hung out at the pool all day. So it was 1994, and I was a preteen, basically, in a swim class with a bunch of really little kids. Like practically toddlers. Because I didn’t know how to swim, of course! And it was no fun.

I think I must’ve learned some stuff. The only thing I really remember is doing the little squatty dives off the side of the pool, and this cool two-piece swimsuit I have that was purple, with fringe across the chest and the waist, and little colorful seed beads on the fringe. I was awesome.

But now I’m a grownup and I don’t know how to swim. I can dog paddle across the pool if I had to, probably even across a lake – okay, a pond – if my life depended on it. A couple years ago I flipped a jet-ski over and found myself propelled pretty forcefully towards the bottom of Lake Chelan, but I didn’t panic and just kicked my way up to the surface. But real swimming these things are not. So when my coworker started getting into some pretty hardcore swim training (in the interest of triathlons), I took advantage of her lovely and giving nature and asked her to meet me at the pool.

Two lessons in, I can’t exactly swim yet, but I can take some really freaking long breaths while gliding under the water, and I can kick from the hips, and I’m getting really comfortable in the water, something that’s been a long time coming.

The best part, I think, is simply teaching my body something new.

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