5 months ago, I literally could not swim to save my life. 4 days ago, I jumped off a boat into the ocean and swam alongside manta rays. I am a changed woman.
I spent the first two and half decades of my life clutching onto floatation devices, not because donuts and flamingos are cool, but because I had not mastered the basic skill of keeping myself afloat. I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t that something you cross off your list as a child? Well, I was a stubborn child, adolescent and teenager, unaware of the impact my defiance would have on my freedom. Fortunately, at 25 years of age, my adulthood kicked in, erasing my flawed and foolish “it’s too late to learn” perspective. I was no longer crippled by the embarrassment of learning how to swim as an adult. I was excited to take the plunge and open the door to new experiences and activities that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to participate in. You can lower those eyebrows because I am hella proud of myself.
It took all of 6-7 motivated pool sessions to learn how to float, thread water and swim 50 metres. I’m not going to lie and say it was a piece of cake. I will say that it was more of a mental struggle than a physical one. The hardest part was starting and shedding my insecurities. Once I shifted my focus away from what other people might be thinking to what I stood to gain from my efforts, it was a relatively smooth journey. Of course, there were a few moments of panic and frustration, but the moments that are permanently imprinted in my mind for viewing at any time are the milestones that restored my confidence – the moment I reached the half way mark of a 25 metre pool without stopping, the moment I realised that I swam the entire length of the pool, and the moment I touched the wall, grinning ear to ear with my heart pounding after miraculously completing 2 lengths of the pool without stopping.
It is never too late to learn something new. It can be daunting, but if everything you want is on the other side of fear, take the plunge and thank yourself later. I genuinely believe that the weight of your desire will always influence your capacity to learn. The question you need to be asking yourself is – how bad do you want it?