Counting college, my years back in Philly, and living in Florida for the last 10 years, everywhere I’ve lived has had a pool – or, for the year-plus I lived in South Beach, an ocean two blocks away.
Despite this, It’s been a good 20 years since I swam.
Not that I avoid water. I get in the pool at my building almost daily. A quick dip in the regular pool, then relax in the jacuzzi. I’m also an Aquarius, for what that’s worth.
But I’d felt no need to exercise or even check for my swimming skills. When people ask if I can swim, my usual answer has been “I don’t know,” as it had been so damn long.
Until a recent weekend, while watching my lady take swimming lessons.
[dt_quote type=”blockquote” font_size=”h4″ animation=”none” background=”plain”]The Clarity Bundle: Ask Yourself A Better Question, 25 Reasons To Quit Worrying[/dt_quote]
Id told her that I knew how to swim, or at least I used to know, but I didn’t care if I ever did or didn’t again. As long as I can stand up in the pool, I’ll live, I reasoned.
But she, energized by her own learning in the pool, asked me if I would get in and practice with her some of the techniques she was learning. I hesitantly agreed, then let her onto a real reason why I don’t particularly like swimming: the burn on my eyes from the chlorine in pools.
She told me that the pool we were in didn’t pose such problems. As a fellow contact lens wearer, she could keep her eyes open underwater and not feel a thing.
Well, this changed everything for me. I swam for the first time in forever right then and there. And I even got to keep my eyes open! My swimming skill is far from impressive; I won’t even say it matter to change that (for now).
Here’s what I learned, and what you can learn, from my open-eyes underwater baptism.
Assumptions, assumptions, assumptions will KILL you. My burning-eyes aversion was real: the public pools in Philadelphia and any other I’d been in was doused with chlorine to keep it clean (I guess). I don’t know what’s being used now, but it looks like it works.
When you have a longstanding reason for not doing something, check back every now and then to see if that reason still holds water (pun intended). Things change, you know.
Look closely at what you’re seeing. I’ve watched 2-year-old kids play in the pool, and men twice my age swimming laps. Yet it never occurred to me to wonder how the water didn’t seem to bother them, while I was so sure it would hurt me.
A second or two of logical thought would’ve uncovered this. But sometimes we hold onto beliefs for much life than they should be believed.
Do some research. Google makes research easy. So easy, in fact, that I found out what really makes eyes burn in a pool: Urine.
Good thing my current one is clean.