Re­tired SLO ther­a­pist sets 2019 swim­ming res­o­lu­tion

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page -

I swim twice a week at the SLO Swim Cen­ter in San Luis Obispo. I en­joy the early morn­ing work­out, the sound of my bub­bly breath­ing, the sur­real sen­sa­tion of mov­ing through the wa­ter along­side my fel­low swim­mers.

I feel calm yet en­er­gized when my swim is over.

For years, I’ve been con­tent to swim 1,800 me­ters per ses­sion — which trans­lates to a lit­tle more than one mile per swim.

But then the staff at the pool in­sti­tuted the 100 Mile Club. Swim­mers record their dis­tances and, when they’ve reached 100 miles, they get their names writ­ten on a white board in the lobby of the swim cen­ter and re­ceive a lit­tle gift.

The en­tire swim cen­ter has been atwit­ter with the plan.

At first, I wasn’t in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing. One hun­dred miles wasn’t in my wheel­house at the rate I was go­ing. And there are times dur­ing the year when I’m trav­el­ing, not feel­ing well or just can’t get out of the house at 6:45 in the morn­ing.

“No thanks,” I told my­self. I’d sit this one out.

I did, how­ever, set a res­o­lu­tion for the year of swim­ming my age (65) and I be­gan dili­gently chart­ing my mileage.

Over the course of the year, the miles piled up. I con­tin­ued my bi­weekly swims.

Sixty-five miles came way too eas­ily in Oc­to­ber. Then I won­dered, “Could I pos­si­bly make it to 100?”

At the same time, I started strate­giz­ing how to swim faster. I got a pair of swim fins. I stopped do­ing slow strokes like kick­ing. I ar­rived ear­lier and swam un­til the pool closed.

The specter of 100 miles loomed tan­ta­liz­ingly on the hori­zon.

But the closer I got to that num­ber, the more dis­sat­is­fied I be­came. En­joy­ment and health

were no longer on the agenda.

In­stead, I felt greedy, as if I didn’t have enough. My mid-lap med­i­ta­tive mind­set was re­placed with non­stop schem­ing about how to do more.

The cap­per came the first week in De­cem­ber, when I was within 19 miles of the vaunted goal. I cal­cu­lated, “If I swim sev­eral more times dur­ing the week, plus one day on the week­end, I might be able to make it.”

Then it hit me. This was Christ­mas, for good­ness sake! The sea­sonal hoopla was al­ready in full swing.

My hol­i­day to-do list was eight pages long. I needed to find ways to re­lax, not ex­haust my­self with un­reach­able ex­pec­ta­tions.

So, I en­gaged in some per­sonal re­flec­tion, and un­cov­ered the fol­low­ing in­sights:

Swim­ming 81 miles for the year was a good ac­com­plish­ment. Very few peo­ple ever at­tempt it. And, let’s be fair, it was the far­thest I’d ever swum. Ku­dos — not scold- ing — were def­i­nitely in order.

Goals are meant to guide and in­spire. In my case, they’d more than served their pur­pose.

I don’t want to feel bad. Self-loathing is never pro­duc­tive, es­pe­cially when it’s ini­ti­ated by some­thing as sim­ple as swim­ming.

Goals are flex­i­ble. If cir­cum­stances change, as they so of­ten do, goals should re­flect the new sit­u­a­tion.

I can set new goals for 2019.

I’m cur­rently on track to swim the full 100 miles this year. If I swim that far, yay me. If I swim less, yay me too.

BY LINDA LEWIS GRIF­FITH Spe­cial to The Tri­bune

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.