Monday Musings: Lessons I Learned in the Swimming Pool

On Saturday, I finished my second set of ten swimming lessons. For those of you who do not know, I set a goal for myself, after I turned 35 last year, to finally learn how to swim. Saturday, September 29, 2018 is when I started this journey and the journey still continues. Throughout this journey, I learned a few lessons that are applicable to every day life.

There are always barriers.

There were so many obstacles stopping me from committing to learning how to swim. First and foremost was fear because my eyesight is horrible. Without my glasses, everything is a blur. There is a meme online that says, “I can’t find my glasses, but I need my glasses to find my glasses.” That is me. I looked into LASIK, but my eyesight is too bad to qualify. Then, I looked into getting prescription googles, but my eyesight was too bad for some companies to make googles with my prescription. I was eventually able to purchase a pair that matched my glasses prescription. Then, there was my big and bold hair. The last time I tried to learn to swim in high school, I had a lot of breakage. My hair had to get cut.

I could have let any of these barriers stop me for attempting my goal. Sometimes we won’t even start a goal because we won’t even put in the effort to deal with barriers. This time, I was determined. I stuck with it until I had a plan for each barrier.

There will be set backs.

I am not doing swim lessons alone. I decided to pay for lessons with an instructor who would also teach my sons. I watched them easily pick up skills that I struggled to grasp. If I grasped the skill one week, the next week would be like I never learned it. It was frustrating. Furthermore, I could not even say want I wanted to say to express my frustration because my sons where right there in the pool watching me. Instead of getting mad (well at least expressing that anger on the outside), I had to be a role model for how to stick with a goal even when it seems like you take one step forward and two steps back.

I could have quit and that would have been the example I set, or I could put my face back down in the water and try again, and again, and again. That’s what I did no matter how many times I messed up, got water in my nose or mouth (yuck!), or couldn’t get my arms and legs to work in tandem. Don’t get me started about turning your head and breathing too.

There will be goal adjustments.

I made one goal for myself. I wanted to be able to swim across the entire pool by the end of lesson 20. I failed. I didn’t do it. At the end of lesson ten, I could swim across half of the pool. At the end of lesson 20, I swam about 75%. If I’m being honest, I’m still mad about it.

I made progress. I was a 35 year old non-swimmer. Now, I am a 36 year old basic (and I mean extra basic) swimmer. Maybe at the end of lesson 30 I will make it all the way across the pool.

Conclusion

We beat ourselves up so much for not reaching a goal that we can ignore the progress we made from where the starting line was. Adjust the goal and keep pressing towards that mark.

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