Monday, August 30, 2010

Sink or Swim

Our summer cottage is on a beautiful, clean lake with an island in the middle of it. I grew up going there every year since I was born, as did my mom, and her mom before her (we are a rather matriarchal society, if you had any doubts).  And each summer since as long as I can remember, some brave, industrious souls have swum from the island back to the shore where our house is, in what is considered, among our small, isolated community up there, the ultimate feat of fortitude and courage. Which is why, when I was constructing my "Thirty Before Thirty" list, I felt compelled to put this on it.  It seemed like a good idea at the time – after all, I've run a marathon, I can do this, right? But, as my vacation wore on, I became increasingly nervous, realizing that it was now or never – I will be thirty before my next warm-weather visit to the lake. And, while I am a capable swimmer, I am hardly a pro- I can't really do the crawl without inhaling water, and I'm frequently called upon to do my "butterfly" as a source of comedic entertainment.   JM and my brother, Andy, also intent on proving their masculinity, said they would attempt the venture with me, adding to the pressure not to back out.
On the big day, I put on my sportiest bathing suit, got myself all worked up into a fester looking for goggles, and was a bundle of nerves on the boat ride over (it's all a blur, but I think I remember asking JM about our life insurance).

We jumped in, and.... it was easy. I stuck mostly with the sidestroke (and the occasional lazy floating backstroke), and we all made it home in less than an hour. I have never experienced anything so anticlimactic in my life. Maybe it was Skipper "helpfully" barking at me from the rescue boat the whole way, or my irritation at JM for taking off at high speed and leaving me in his wake, but I didn't really have that inner struggle or moment of prevailing-over-obstacles that one associates with major life accomplishments.  I just swam, and then it was over. I wasn't even really tired afterwards. Frankly, it was a bit of a letdown.

But then I had a chat with myself, and I realized that things don't have to be hard in order to be accomplishments. Just because the doing turned out to be easier than I thought, doesn't mean that it wasn't hard to gather up my courage, grow some cojones (see goal #25)  and make myself take the first stroke. Like rolling a boulder down a hill, sometimes the tough part is just getting started. And if it turns out to be a breeze from there, well, I should consider myself lucky.

So, three down, twenty-seven to go! Now, who wants to teach me how to sail (#23)?

9 comments:

Sara said...

I'm totally and completely impressed!!! kCome down to Lakeside soon for your sailing lessons...

Chloe said...

Go Lil!

Amber said...

Way to go!!! I would have had an anxiety attack once I hit dark water.

tiana16 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tiana16 said...

so proud of you Lily!! wish i could have been there to swim it with you - I'm not even sure I could make a 1.5 mile swim anymore.

rookie cookie said...

Just found you through the BA blog. Love your blog.

And hey, you aren't the last of a dying breed! Come to Utah. Housewives and homemakers are a dime a dozen here! We would be happy to have you.

Chloe said...

I miss my Charmed Wife- blog now please!

Lily said...

@Rookie Cookie- Plentiful housewives AND excellent skiing. Utah sounds better every day!

@Chloe- Check back Monday for your regularly scheduled blog post. Sorry for the delay, folks!

Michelle said...

Whoa, I'm very impressed; good for you! I'm with Amber--dark water scares me.