I started swimming laps recently. I have always loved to swim. I was one of those kids that could not be kept out of the water. I often had green hair. I spent many a summer with recurrent swimmers-ear…that hurt. I have never been a fast swimmer, but I love to swim long distances. When I worked on a cruise ship I would often swim out into the waters of foreign beaches. It was very unsafe, but oh so beautiful to witness the big quiet ocean.
When I swim laps I am always counting or I will lose track. I swim twenty-five laps…fifty lengths of our small pool. Since I am doing so much counting I am not thinking about a whole lot. If it is some sort of meditation, it is the only one that I am any good at. I swim breaststroke, it is my best stroke. I don’t like to put my face in the water because of my contact lenses. Breaststroke is wrongly named, it should be called frog stroke, because the motions perfectly mimic those of a frog. I like frogs a lot, maybe that is why I feel so at peace doing my laps.
The concept of swimming laps applies pretty easily to living life in a way. When you just keep going, just keep swimming, you will always get to the place that you are supposed to be…or reach the goal that you wish to reach. It took me about three years to write my first novel. I just kept plugging at it, little bit by little bit. Some days I only put down a sentence or two, but even for those couple of sentences, I was grateful and proud. It’s the same way with each small lap that I swim in the pool. Every tiny accomplishment, if we take the time to recognize it, gives us the encouragement that we need to keep going.
I think about things like potty training. The way that we cheer on our toddlers for that amazing poo that they just made. I think that those of us who grow up in the kind of environments where we are being constantly encouraged for our little accomplishments, we learn the habit of doing it for ourselves. It is easy to forget how many people don’t grow up getting that kind of support. There are so many people out there who have to work to retrain themselves to have the healthy habits that their parents should have taught them as children.
So laps, yeah…those are what are on my mind. Even when life isn’t taking you to the place that you want to be, right now, right this second…it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to get there. If you have to give yourself a pat on the back for each and every time that you put one foot in front of the other each day, then do it. Before you know it you will see that you have made a lot of progress while you weren’t even paying attention. You can go farther than you think while you are counting footsteps, counting laps.