Monday, July 14, 2008

swimming? skiing? hurdles?

I've figured it out - swimming makes you blog :) I had another great time at the pool this evening. Different instructor, but I still learned a lot. I think it helps actually to have more than one point of view when learning something completely foreign. Different things stick in my head from different people and then suddenly (hopefully) they all come together. At least that's what I'm hoping. That's what happened for me when I learned downhill skiing. Wow! In less than an hour, I've compared swimming to skiing and running hurdles... :)

Anyway, I had a glimmer of what its supposed to feel like today, maybe even two glimmers. Just a glance, a feeling, a whisper... call it what you will, but I think I almost had it.... once. So I know it will come down to repetition. So I'll keep chugging along and see if I can conquer this beast. It's so much fun to learn something new. It makes me feel like I used to as a kid, like I can do anything if I put my mind to it, like I can conquer the world, like life is completely what I make of it.

I walked out of the gym smiling today. As I left the locker room, I walked past the raquetball court. (That looks like fun. I haven't tried that in years. I think I could do that.) I walked past the basketball court. (I haven't done that in forever. That's something I've always longed to be good at. I love basketball, but it seems like you get to a certain age - especially as a woman, where that's just not something you do. Is it too late?)

I went to the coffee shop still thinking about these things and the girl asked me what I was doing this evening. Well, now know this... it's 8:30 by this point and I did strength training this morning and just finished an hour in the pool. I'm going home and going to bed! But I told her that I'd just been swimming, taking swim lessons even. What the heck? She's like half my age and probably going to think I'm a total freak. Oh well. Instead she was impressed. Impressed? Really? With me? So I walked out of the coffee shop with my swim head, wearing my latest 10 mile t-shirt thinking you know what? I'm pretty cool. This is all I've ever wanted - to be an athlete. I've always wanted to be an athlete - for as long as I could remember.

But there comes a time as an adult where you can't be an "athlete" per se unless you're getting paid for it. I mean we all have other jobs and responsibilities and things to do and take care of and running and such well, that's just to relieve stress or get away from the family for a few minutes, put off house work, lose weight, etc.... We can't possibly be athletes. Or can we? Can we in our 30's or 40's or 50's or beyond be considered athletes? Is an athlete only a profession? Can it be how a project manager or a housewife or a vice president defines herself? An athlete first and then all that other stuff? Is the other stuff who we are or just another label we've given to ourselves - or worse that someone else has stuck on us?

What does that label mean? Surely it doesn't define who we are. Not completely. For we are so many things. It's so complicated and yet so simple. We are exactly who we want to be. We define ourselves. We decide what face we want to present. And sometimes we present a different face to different audiences. It's situational. I think it has to be in the society we exist in. But I think that's okay. As long as we can reconcile it all - as long as we can figure out a way to be comfortable in our own skins, our own heads.

So I would be excited if someone considered me athletic, maybe not an athlete because society after all has rules and ideas and definitions, but I think I could qualify for athletic in the minds of many. And I want to try so many different sports. I want to see if I can become at least proficient in many, well-rounded if you will. And if I can become better at things like flip turns and free style, endurance running, bicycling, moguls, hiking, maybe rock climbing and tennis.... I will be an athlete. If not in the minds of all, at least in my mind. And that is all that really matters in the end.

No comments: