I didn’t learn to swim until I was about seven years old. It absolutely terrified me. Our teacher would organise us into lanes, according to ability; I was most often in the worst one, only occasionally being allowed to join the middle and slightly better lane. I was pretty rubbish to be fair, and quite liked being in the slow lane because it was by the wall, so I could grab hold of the edge of the pool if I needed to, which I often did. The thing I hated the most was diving and anything that involved being under water. I think I managed a silver swimming badge at one point but generally I was more of a bronze kind of swimmer, or maybe even less than that. In fact, I was so bad that my teacher would frequently make me stay behind and swim extra lengths as she shouted at me to keep going while walking beside my near drowning attempts at back crawl. I really hated back crawl. Still not keen on it now to be honest.
Throughout my time at school I continued to dread swimming lessons and for many years after leaving education I didn’t swim at all. Then one day, well into adulthood by this time, I started swimming again and surprisingly, I loved it! The absence of the ‘rubbish lane’ and my teacher’s bellowing encouragement meant I enjoyed being in the pool and swimming at my own pace.
Now, I swim every week and although I’m still pretty slow, I enjoy the exercise and time to think which it gives me as pootle up and back, past other serious and not-so-serious swimmers. As I swam the other night I felt really grateful to my teacher for making me learn, and not allowing me to give up but to keep going and eventually come to enjoy this potentially life-saving gift.
So, today, I am grateful to my swimming teacher and those who gave me the opportunity to learn to swim.
What are you grateful for today?