When we become adults, it's easy to fall into a routine with our days and with our lives. We hope not to grow physically anymore, but we sometimes forget to continue growing in other ways. But, life without growth is boring, and stagnant.
In the last month, I've achieved one of the highest levels of growth I've had in years. The key to all of it was in getting past a fear that I had let hold me back for over 2 decades. The key to it was in learning how to swim and to get past my fear of deep water.
Today was my final swimming lesson. Just a month ago, I was terrified of the idea of deep water, and frightened of even trying to swim across a pool. Today I walked out of the pool knowing I'll need more lessons, but confident in continuing to swim on my own until then.
In the last week, I'd been getting concerned about the final lesson. I know that I eventually need to be proficient in the front crawl in order to do a triathlon. I'd had little instruction in it up until this point though. For the most part, I'd been working on breathing (still important for front crawl) and backstroke.
Things turned out wonderfully today. Thanks to the nice weather and approach of summer, few people showed up for the lesson. There were 3 people for the first half hour and a late arrival, bringing it to 4 for the second half. This meant that those of us present got a lot of attention and instruction. David also started the class by asking what we wanted to work on, making it easy for me to ask to do front crawl.
I have to say, front crawl is hard! I thought I was in decent shape. I run, bike, and hike, but swimming wipes me out big time. Plus, you can't just breath anytime you want. You have to learn to breath properly and during strokes. David teaches bilateral breathing, meaning breathing on alternate sides. Having read a lot on it, I agree with him. I may as well learn to do it correctly from the start, but it's not easy.
Having said that, I made a lot of progress in this final class, setting me up well to continue working on it at the pool while swimming laps.
More importantly, I grew as a person. Conquering this fear and achieving this step has reminded me that I am capable of doing whatever I put my mind to. Sometimes I have to slow down and take it easy, but ultimately, I can do it.
The triathlon is still a year or so away, but the I've done more then take the first steps. I've climbed the first staircase.
They don't give fancy crests for passing lessons like they did when I was a kid, but here's my first certificate of achievement. :)