How many times have you told yourself you can’t do something? I’ve done it a gazillion. You are either too old, too dumb, too fat, too thin, too out of shape….any number of excuses to not give it a go.
You might surprise yourself. I did last Monday.
In my mother’s small town on the south shore of Lake Erie they hold an annual event. A four mile swim to the neighboring island called Kelley’s. I did the swim when I was a lanky, naive fifteen year old. I didn’t “train” or prepare or anything like that. As I recall I just decided to do it and did it. That’s how a fifteen year old rolls.
This year the annual swim fell on dates that I would be in town. The difference between then and now? I’m 49 years old. I hemmed and hawed and all those things we do when we are afraid to try. But was I afraid?
What Is The Fear Really About
Was I afraid to try? Afraid of drowning halfway across the lake? Fearful of the mechanics of the long swim? No. I was afraid to fail. I was afraid to have to stop and climb into the safety boat partway across…in front of the entire town. I was afraid of being in last place and afraid that all my friends would whisper, “What did she think she was doing at THAT age trying something like that?”
I was worried about what others would think.
And you know what? That was the STUPIDEST thing EVER! Why? Because, honestly, no matter what you think, people don’t spend much time thinking about you. And in fact what I found was that the town was incredibly supportive. Women of “my age” came up to me in admiration and I even inspired a couple to give it a go next year.
That in fact, by “doing” adventure I could inspire others, which is exactly the purpose of The Adventure Couple.
For years I wondered if I could accomplish the swim again or was it just the agility and stamina of youth who could endure? So I sheepishly mentioned it to Mom when I arrived that I might give it a go. While I was muttering, “Let me see how I’m feeling that day” I secretly cleared my schedule and before I even left home I packed a swimming suit and swim googles.
But unless I was certain that I would succeed I didn’t want to put myself on the line. Have you said that to yourself before?
The Day Arrives
The day of the qualifying swim (1.5 miles), Mom got up to make me breakfast. That was really cool. She came down to take pictures and cheer me on. I was a bit self conscious, in case I had to give up part way and disappoint everyone.
What I found was that the swim was quite easy. That I did have it in me to make the qualifying distance without a problem. It wasn’t my body that was afraid, it was my brain. I vowed not to think so much!
Does this sound familiar to you?
Who gives a shit.
Truly. Remember that people don’t spend as much time thinking about you as you think.
Stop playing mind games. It’s only about you and your dream.
Two days later, I jumped in the lake and swam four miles across the open channel. My husband, supportively kayaked alongside me and a flotilla of 29 swimmers went across the lake. I wasn’t the first to arrive by any stretch. There was a whole slew of 14 and 16 year olds completing the swim in half the time and many long distance swimmers making a circuit of swims around the state.
I’m not 16 years old anymore (thank God!) and therefore there’s a pretty damn good chance I’m going to be at the back of the pack, especially with no training. But I didn’t give up. And in fact, again, I found the swim relaxing, peaceful and quite easy!
And at 49 I’m old enough and smart enough to know that out there it’s simply me and the lake. It’s my accomplishment only. It wasn’t about “beating” the teenagers, it was simply to know that I still had it in me to finish that endurance event.
By disabling my brain and enabling my heart, I was able to get on with my desire and accomplish what I truly wanted that day.
I amazed myself.
You can to.