“If you really believe in what you’re doing, work hard, take nothing personally
and if something blocks one route, find another. Never give up.”
Remember back when I got kicked out of swim class? Remember how I said I would make that coach eat her words? Well not only did I get personally invited back to class, but I have NOW BEEN PROMOTED TO THE INTERMEDIATE LANE!
In fact, I think I am the only person to get promoted a lane so far in the class. As if that weren’t exciting (and terrifying!) enough, I also got singled out to demonstrate proper technique for the catch up drill. This was possibly the most ironic moment to occur in class so far given I was kicked out for having the worst form in class. lol Regardless, the rest of the class was highly impressed on both accounts.
They keep telling me how great I look when I swim; however, I feel sort of like that person who lost tons of weight and still sees myself as fat. No matter how many compliments I get from people on how great and effortless my swimming looks, I still feel like I am struggling and have no idea what I’m doing. I am still terrified of not being able to breath every time I get in the water, and I still have anxiety before every class that I won’t be able to handle the workout.
The thing I continue to struggle with the most is being able to swim lap after lap without rest in between. This is at least in part due to the fact that I swim as quickly as possible to get to the rest breaks. Now that I have graduated to Lane 2, however, there is no rest between laps. Instead, we are doing six 50’s at a time with 10 seconds in between if we’re lucky. Then, immediately, it’s on to the next drill. Not to mention, there are now 100 meter drills which I am not quite able to do yet (I’m getting close though!)
The other big part of my problem is just being able to relax. In the rare moments when I do relax in the water, swimming feels effortless. On the other hand, during class I get so anxious that it is hard to keep my heart rate down, which creates more demand for oxygen, which makes my lungs burn, which makes me anxious… you get the idea…
I think the solution to both these problems is just to swim more- as in drag myself to the pool on my own and put in a lot of time in the water. After all, it’s gotten me this far. Plus, I have a long way to go before I get swimming 1.2 miles continuously, so I could probably use al the practice I can get in.
In the meantime, at least I have another small victory to celebrate. For me, it’s not about being the best swimmer in class or better than anyone else, it’s just about improving. I am happy to be making progress, even if it’s not that noticeable to me. My goal in signing up for swim class was to learn as much about swimming as I could, and I have definitely learned a lot from the instructor. Despite all my anxiety about swimming, I can honestly call myself a swimmer now, and that means something to me.
My point in sharing this with all of you is not to brag, but rather point out the value of persistence. I could have very easily given up on swimming when I got kicked out of class, and no one would have faulted me for it. After all, the swim instructor had told me to get a refund. It doesn’t get more blunt than that! The thing is that I am not at a point in my life where I no longer rely on other people to tell me what I am capable of because I know full well. Was I a bad swimmer? Absolutely! Was it hopeless? Absolutely not!
No person should ever allow someone else to crush his or her dreams. If you want to be a swimmer, find a pool and swim. Want to be a runner, go running. Want to be an actor, writer, stunt double, lion tamer? Go do it! Live your passion! Don’t worry about other people’s approval. You need to follow your bliss and do what makes you happy. No one else in this world can tell you what that is. You need to find it for yourself. Besides, what good is someone else’s approval and adoration if you aren’t being authentic anyway?
Go chase your dreams, and never, never give up!