I am a swimmer. I’ve never been on a swim team, had my last swimming lesson when I was 12, my stroke is far from perfect and even my fastest pace is slow….but starting when I was in grad school, and continuing with only short breaks due to injury or lack of pool access, I have shown up several times a week and swum laps.
Swimming is my exercise of choice, but more than that it is what keeps me sane when my world is going crazy. Counting laps is my mantra, and the rhythm of my breath is my meditation. As Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui wrote in this blog post,
“In the pool, I let go of all my responsibilities and inner chatter and focus on my breath and the way my body tilts gently with each stroke.” When I emerge from the water, my body is tired, but my soul is revitalized.
Lately my life feels even more turbulent than usual. My last few weeks at work before retirement are busy as I wind down or hand over tasks and projects, there are too many retirement events for an introvert like me, and we are partway through a month of non-stop house guests…family members that we love, but who bring long-standing triggers and dramas.
Most of this will die down once I retire, but I will still be faced with the roller-coaster ride of Don’s cognitive issues and the uncertainty, stress, anxiety, and fear that we both are feeling.
I will swim my way through.
To borrow again from Krista O’Reilly-Davi-Digui, swimming “is one more invitation, on this life journey, to step into small, imperfect action. I am reminded that I am the type of person who moves through fear and anxiety, and does hard things, who seeks freedom and does not quit.”
I have a feeling that the coming months and years will test me in ways that I never wanted to be tested, but I will swim my way through the fear and anxiety and I will not quit.