I had waited a very long time to have this swim.
3 long years for this solitary swim at night.
You see, I am not much of an athlete. I don’t enjoy sweating it out under the hot scorching sun or sprinting it off on a track.
But swimming—I liked it very much.
Long, peaceful strokes in the calm water. Deeply therapeutic.
However, I had stopped swimming when life got a little out of hand. I was hurt and my legs were scarred. Guess I just didn’t feel like putting on a swimsuit and going for a swim.
Nevertheless, now I had summoned up my confidence. My legs are pretty much healed and I have recovered.
I wanted to get into the glistening blue waters that looked like a magical whirlpool of lights in the night.
So, tonight, I did. Surprisingly, I had the large pool all to myself. It was as if this moment had been awaiting my presence for a long time.
Smack in the middle of the pool was a golden bridge that sparkled with yellow lights. One had to swim under that bridge to get to the other side of the pool.
After removing the towel I had wrapped around myself and taking my cold shower, I stood by the pool, transfixed for a moment by the ripples that moved across the water’s surface—almost like the surreal heartbeat of the pool.
Then, I got into the water. A rush of fear went up my spine and just for a very brief second, I felt almost suffocated but that tension evaporated the next second and I stood calmly in the water, taking in the moment.
Putting on my goggles, I felt that my vision had now turned into a monotonous shade of grey.
The golden bridge looked dull and the water felt uninviting.
The first lap (a little too fast)
Nevertheless, I started to swim. Somehow, I couldn’t slow down and swim calmly. My muscles felt tensed and I swam fast—rushing to get to the other end as my breath quickened and I gasped almost violently for air. When I got to the end of the pool, I took my goggles off and paused.
Why the rush?
What was I rushing for ?
To be honest, I didn’t know what I was rushing for.
The second lap (slowing down)
Feeling slightly puzzled, I put on my swimming goggles again and consciously tried to slow down my strokes in the pool, moving calmly, trying to enjoy the serenity of the situation.
I was thankful that I had all my body parts working well. I was healthy and grateful for this reflective time that I had and for this well working body of mine.
When I reached the other end of the pool, I stopped and smiled.
This time round, when I purposely made the effort to slow down, I could really appreciate the swim, as well as be thankful for every other factor that made this swim possible.
How beautiful it was.
Then, I was forced to think about how my two contrasting laps, somehow taught me a lesson or two about life.
A Life lesson
Many at times, work or mundane routine chores force us to go a little too fast in life, without stopping to think and enjoy the simple but splendid moments—like my first lap of swimming in the pool.
It is sad that unless we are met with the sudden death of a family member or friend, or when we are diagnosed with a terminal disease, that we truly force ourselves to stop and think about life—to enjoy the little things and savour these moments..
Like the warm smile of a colleague at work..or the innocent laughter of a child on the street.
I think that in this fast paced world that has so much going on, it takes more effort to go slow than to go fast.
Perhaps, making that extra effort to slow down a little and enjoy life little by little..is a choice that is worthwhile.
We are never completely in control of life and the amount of time we have left on this earth.
I was just reminded not to take things for granted and to learn how to…slow down.
As I slowed down during my second lap in the pool, I have to say that I felt more at peace and happy because I could enjoy all the elements that made swimming such a beautiful sport.
That golden bridge in the middle of the pool
When I was swimming, I stopped right under the golden bridge of the pool to stare at the lights…
It was right alright but a little too piercing and blinding.
However, as I reached the far end of the pool, stopped and looked at the bright bridge from a distance, the lights formed a beautiful arch in the darkness.. I was able to enjoy the beauty from afar.
Sometimes when we are immersed in a moment, we might not be able to realise how precious and beautiful that experience is because of the noise that we are caught up in. (like when I was blinded by the lights of the bridge as I stood under it in the pool)
I guess that is why reflection enables one to appreciate life better as we look through our experiences from afar—taking the perspective of a spectator, and staring in awe at the beautiful or not so beautiful givings of life.
The pieces that didn’t quite seem to fit together might somehow perhaps then…