Learning to Swim
More Retirement Living
By Alane Cunningham – Contemporary Retirement
When writing articles about retirement, I often try to do research or offer information that will in some way enhance this stage of life. However, this month I am going to use my own personal experience because I tried something I never thought I would be able to do- learn to swim.
And I offer this as a challenge to others because as you get older, it often becomes too easy not to challenge yourself. On my bathroom mirror I have a magnet with a picture of Eleanor Roosevelt challenging me to “Do something every day that scares you.” I look at that quote every morning as I brush my teeth and then go on about my complacent life.
But this year is different. Perhaps, it is because a mile-stone birthday is lurking, or perhaps, it is after all these years of watching my husband swim beautifully, it looks fun. Or perhaps, it was just that I want to get out of my comfort zone and try something different! And I clearly have accomplished that. Anyone who has a fear of something, be it water, flying, moving, retiring, or any change, can relate to how hard it is to overcome that fear.
So, I wish I could tell you how to do it. The first step is wanting to do it. That is so cliche but it really is true. You have to be motivated to really want it. For me, swimming looked like a good form of exercise since my joints no longer afford me the ability to run.
The first time I stepped in the pool (and no matter how warm they say the water is, it’s always cold to me) I had ill-fitting googles and a swim cap that protected my newly highlighted hair. I was uncomfortable and it would have been very easy to say “never mind” but as I said motivation is the key.
I wish I could tell you I have mastered the art of swimming, but I am still working on it. But now, every time I step in the pool and have a breakthrough moment of accomplishment it is a wonderful feeling.
So, what are you afraid of doing? Maybe this is the year to challenge yourself to learn something new or confront an old fear. It will help keep your brain active and adrenaline flowing and perhaps even give your life new meaning? I end this article with another interesting quote I like from Liz Taylor who said, “You might as well live.”
About Alane Cunningham
Alane is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. She retired from the University of Michigan after 27 years. She currently lives in Florida in a small beachside community with her husband. She navigates retirement with human nature observations realizing everyone must find their own way to happiness through this passage of life.
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