Believe it or not, I was a competitive swimmer for the most part of my childhood/pre-adolescent/teenager-life. 10 years of swimming up and down a lane – it was pretty intense.
If you haven’t noticed, this was the past, and now let’s fast forward to this very moment. I’m a lot lazier than I was before…with exercise that is. The only reason why I work out is to feel okay about eating that last piece of delicious bread that I didn’t have to have but had to have. It was lonely! I was doing it a favour. Besides that, I haven’t been keeping up with another sport in replacement (if photography and cooking/baking counts, then this would be a false statement).
Now that I’m in Bordeaux, I have extra pressure to keep fit: beautiful/stylish people everywhere, bakeries on each corner, cheese is its own food category, and where Nutella is worshipped. Let’s be real – there’s a lot of pressure. So, I’ve been taking leisurely swims at the university pool which is conveniently located 2 minutes away from my res.
As I was swimming one afternoon, I got asked to join the swim team. This was obviously exciting but at the same time, it hits an awkward spot. The reason why I quit swimming was because I didn’t want to continue it in university. It had already taken up a significant part of my life and I wanted to continue exploring, I couldn’t see myself continuing the commitment of 20+ hrs/week at Glendon. And now, the question returns from the dead: will I join?
In retrospect, I have half the question answered: yes, I do want to be a part of a team. I want to meet new friends and also maintain a healthy lifestyle. From what I’ve seen/heard, the training regime isn’t as demanding meaning there will be at least one training with the group per week and the rest is up to my own devices. Despite all of this and to be honest, I am scared.
How can one be scared? Well, I am. First of all, I haven’t swam with a team for 3 years. Secondly, it has been a while since I’ve
trained really trained. Thirdly, racing. My principle fear. Cue in the anxiety attack! You know the retired race horses who lazily eat grass all day (now imagine me, lazily munching on bread all day)? Can you imagine them thrown back into the race-course? Well, that’s exactly how I feel. Racing feels eons ago. Yes, I do crave the adrenaline rush and I do enjoy winning (who doesn’t?) but the process of racing isn’t for the faint-hearted. What to do? What to do!
To be critically blunt with myself, I’m not scared of racing…I’m scared of losing, of embarrassment – the fear of failure. Why do I worry about it if it hasn’t even happened? And that’s the problem. Often times, we forget that we haven’t even finished what we set out to do and just rush to worry/stress over what might happen. It’s okay to feel worried because it shows that you care but remember – in moderation!
We need to stop thinking about the future when we have to deal with the present. Don’t stop yourself from doing something that you enjoy. The fundamental question should be: are you happy with what you are doing? If you are, don’t hesitate or second-guess. No matter what, you will have to face disappointment and failure. That’s life! So, suck it up! (Funny story insert: when I was coaching a group for pre-competitive swimming, a swimmer always complained about swallowing water. One day, I finally had enough and told him, “suck it up!” He replied with, “I already am.”)
Do I enjoy swimming? Yes. Do I like racing? Yes. Do I like winning? Yes. Do I like losing? …Ye-no, but I’ll survive. I think I’ve answered my question: even if I come DL (dead last), I will be okay as long as I’m having fun. (And, yes that is me – farthest right – in the picture, circa 2009).