Rachel and I finally checked out the local swimwear boutique yesterday–she, to get something more suitable (hah!) for our frequent swimming schedule, and I to scope the possibilities for the next time I need a new suit. (And to buy great new flip-flops. And a cruise-worthy straw bag. And we both tried on hats, but nothing came of that. This time.)
I have much to be grateful to Rachel for; she’s brought many wonderful things into my life, and “swimmies” is way up high on the list. I have always loved to swim, so when she asked me last August if I might be interested in checking out the aqua aerobics classes at our local community center, I accepted immediately. The thing is, it’s just not something I ever would have gone to check out by myself; the buddy system is very important when you’re going back into a locker room for the first time since…huh…since whenever it was you last went to a gym….sometime in the 90s, maybe?
Anyway, we went, and we loved it. I bought two new, high-quality swimsuits that same week, confident that the expense would be justified by the amount of time I would be spending in the pool. Plus, my ratty old Wal-Mart tank was a serious passive barrier to participation: it was ugly, unflattering, and uncomfortable. Not wanting to wear it could (would!) discourage me from going to class. Conversely, having a suit that fit well AND made me feel pretty would encourage me all the more.
Flash forward six months and what do we find? Kari and Rachel, hitting the pool twice a week, most weeks. This, despite the fact our local pool closed for two weeks of refurbishment just when we started classes: no problem, we went to another community center a little further away until ours re-opened. Just after that, I came down with H1N1, which kept me out of the pool for about a month–two weeks to prevent spreading contagion, and two more getting over the cough. Still, the minute I felt well enough, I was back in the pool, exercising my way back to normal lung capacity. And never mind the constant wet towels and suits hanging in the bathroom, the lingering chlorine smell, the need for stronger moisturizers, the newly brittle hair, which is also showing off all its gray strands to sparkling effect, thanks to the chlorine. All worth it, for the pleasure of swimmies.
The thing about swimming, unlike any other exercise program I’ve ever tried, is that I will work to overcome my own excuses not to do it. Its emotional and social rewards are sufficient motivation to keep me at it; the physical rewards are a nice bonus, but not the goal. And THAT, as people tried to tell me innumerable times over the years, is the secret to staying active: find something you love to do, and it will be easy to stick to.
So many thanks to Rachel, for the initial impulse, and for being my partner on the trek. I owe you big, whirly girl!