Monday, August 23, 2010

Head First

Well, my fitness journey took a real nosedive today...literally! And it's a good thing! No, scratch's a GREAT thing!

You may recall from my earlier posts that my childhood progress through swimming lessons came to an abrupt halt when I could not learn to dive. I simply could not do it. There was some enormous mental block between the top of my head and surface of the water. I tried and I tried, and people tried to teach me using every strategy imaginable. No matter what, I always managed to turn upright at the last possible second and slip some other body part under me to enter the water before my head.

At some point I gave up, and accepted my inability to dive as just a part of life. I never had any problems jumping into water, even deep water, feet first (as long as I had my nose squeezed closed between my fingers, that is), so not being able to dive was sort of a non-issue. But in a way it always haunted me deep down inside as this basic skill that most everyone could do...except me.

Some time after I started overcoming my face-in-the-water issues and became comfortable swimming like a normal person, I started to ponder whether I might actually be able to dive someday. While I was on vacation at the beach, I played around with "diving" headfirst into some waves in the ocean, and found it rather easy to do. Diving downward would be more difficult than diving straight forwards, but I thought I might give it a shot.

Last week one morning, I was sitting on the side of the pool with my legs dangling in, and decided to tip over with my hands in a diving position to get the rest of me into the water. It wasn't a true dive, since part of me was already in the water, but it felt good and there was no hesitation or fear.

So my plan was to try it from a squatting position this week, but I actually forgot about the whole plan until I was nearly at the pool this morning. When I remembered, I decided to abandon the plan and just go for it. I have a tendency to over think things, and rarely does any good come of that. When fear is involved, over thinking just gives the fear more time to creep in and take control. So I walked to my lane, put on my swim cap and goggles, bent over, and just DOVE RIGHT IN!

It felt so incredible! The water has never felt so smooth or refreshing! In one fell swoop I washed away an entire lifetime of fear and anxiety! And now I feel like I can conquer the world. If I can overcome a lifelong fear just like that, there are truly no limits to what I can do!

Now, it's worth noting that it was not a good dive, per se. I did not become Greg Louganis in an instant. Hahaha! My form was poor, but most important is that my hands entered the water first, followed by my head. My thighs might have been next to hit, which is less than ideal, but I'll take it because they came AFTER my HEAD! :) :) :)

Life is funny. If I'd never gotten a stress fracture, I might not have fallen in love with swimming, and thus might never have had the opportunity to overcome one of the biggest fears of my life. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and I am grateful.

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