Have you ever told yourself that you are too old to learn a new skill and then just moved on without attempting to give it a try? Have you ever not done things because you were worried what will people say about you? Have you ever not tried out something only because of the sheer fear in your mind?
I did too. I did it on numerous occasions. I did it when I had a chance to learn a new language and thought I was too old to do so. I did it when I wanted to write an educative article on ‘sex’ but for almost a month kept on worrying what will people say and think about me. I did it every time I went to an amusement park.
But this time, it was different! I have always loved waters but never had the courage to be underneath it. And I always thought it is too late to learn swimming. However being in Florida for 2 years now, everyday it used to prick me that I am not doing justice to my stay here due to my inability to swim. So finally mustering a lot of courage I joined an adult swimming class here.
I did not have a swimsuit and buying a swimsuit also was a big task. If you are an Indian, you will understand what I am talking about. I cannot flaunt a bikini as the culture from where I hail from, I will never be able to do so. But you know what made my shopping decision easier? My MIL said to me, “If you cannot wear a swimwear in the US, you will never be able to wear a swimwear anywhere else“. That is so true. US is so liberal in terms of clothes as well as thinking. So I went for a cute flowery frock type swim wear which I really adore. I even bought swim goggles on recommendation from my friend who also learned swimming from the same institute.
Now when this task was done, I was feeling a little excitement regarding my swimming class. But the day before my class, I was anxious again. Happens with me all the time. Somehow I managed to wake up early and reached my destination. I was a little early so I just sat on one of the chairs and looked at the soothing pool water.
There were 5 students in the class, out of which I was the only first time course taker. The other 4 had already done one session and this was their second course. Trust me it did not help at all. People were doing breast stroke and an entire lapse and I was learning to bubble inside the water!
My instructor said a very important point. She said we will practice in 4 feet throughout because more than the body getting used to the vigor, it is all about convincing your brain and the mind that it is safe – it is just 4 feet and you can stand on your own any time. This was a very important aspect at least for me.
When I first went down the water, I felt a calmness growing all over me. I didn’t feel like doing anything but just being there and let the water soak my entire body. Feel the tingling of the short waves over me and make the water ripple with my hands to make some splashing sound and create my own waves too. The charismatic effect of the water on me was overwhelming! But hey, I was here to learn and I had to do my bit.
I was a scared chicken and the moment I put my face inside the water, I felt choked and that I was drowning. At one point, water went into my nose and that felt horrible. In the entire one hour, I just did gliding – bubbles – kicking. I still am terribly scared to do the glide as I keep on thinking that I will go breathless. I cannot kick enough to reach the shore. I cannot create continuous bubbles to sustain myself inside the water. But isn’t it supposed to be like this? If I could swim on my first go, life would have been so easy! But life is not easy at all times. So I struggle to sustain under water, to get rid of that fear, to overcome the thought of drowning.
My instructor asked me to float on water and I was not ready to do it. She came and held my back and said I am there with you, look up and relax. Even though she held me, my heart was still racing and I thought I am going to sink. I did it twice and towards the end of second time, I relaxed a bit and tried to enjoy floating on top of water looking at the blue sky and spreading my arms wide in the blue water!
I might not learn swimming in these 4 lessons, I might have to join the next session too. But I am happy that atleast on one occasion, I am trying to battle with my fears and if not emerge as a winner then at least give a tough fight to fear!