I’ve mentioned it before, but I am a swimmer. And if you’re a swimmer, you know that lap swimming involves staring at the bottom of the pool for however long you’re out there. In the lane where I swim, and in most lap pools, there’s a line at the bottom of the pool that, in my case, helps me make sure I’m swimming straight. Given that my swimming can be a little bit crazy at times, I value the line, keeps me on the right path.
But I also swim in open water. When I swim at the lake, I think that a GPS picture of my swim would look like a squiggly line. I sight often and try to stay straight, but for the life of me, that doesn’t seem to happen. I veer to the right, then the left, but never really in a straight line. Now, I like doing things right, which in this case would mean swimming straight, but if I’m being honest, I’d have to say that I really like swimming in the open water. It’s always beautiful, the air is fresh, no chlorine and I’m outside, which I would rather be any time. The factors I love tend to outweigh the fact that I feel like I must look like I’ve been drinking and that there could be sharks…ok not really, but I still think about it.
I’ve been thinking about swimming compared to the way I operate in my day to day life. Gotta say, my set point is to follow the line. I follow the rules. I want others to follow the rules. I play the responsible card, all…the…time. Sure, it’s predictable and there is some comfort in that. For anyone, right? You operate in the comfort zone, play small, stay safe. Ends up being tasks before people. Before you know it, you’re living in a super clean, organized, house, all your bills are paid, you’re doing well at work, but you wake up one day to realize you are bored and…alone.
With the straight line, you get stuff done. In the pool, I’ll crank out my yards. Back and forth, the ppredictable path. Open water? I’m zigging and zagging and don’t swim as far as in the pool, but it’s so beautiful! Open water is where the adventure is. And I’m realizing that I want that for my life. I want the open water. I want to explore. To take the unknown road and discover something I may have never found otherwise. It’s a way to find new passions, to actually, fully, experience life instead of staying in my lane. To focus on people, not tasks, and people can be zig zaggy too, but I’m willing to take that chance. To share those adventures with someone I care about, to make memories.
So I’m making that promise to myself, to live in the open water. And I’ll be honest, it scares me and really, that’s ok. I encourage you to think about your own life, where are you swimming the straight line and where are you in open water? If you’re not getting in the open water, why not try?