Friday, October 1, 2010

This Week's Challenge...

...The Common Cold.

I went out last weekend, excited to practice what I'd learned during my lesson. But I had a cold and, by Sunday, could barely bring myself to enter the water. Which I did anyway. Immediately, I got slammed down hard and had to admit that surfing is neither for the faint of heart nor the low of energy.

As much of a physical challenge as it is to be sick, the bigger challenge is always mental. Am I lazy? A quitter? Not committed?  These questions always threaten to add insult to injury. With no coach to tell me if I'm well enough/not well enough, it's entirely up to me to determine how much or how little to exert. And it's a tempting and well-worn habit to question my own judgment.

Today I still have a cold. Instead of pushing/punishing myself further, I went swimming. It's been so hot that I've been swimming all week with the kids,  but today was the first time I went alone. As much as I love water, I've never thought much of swimming. I've found it boring and monotonous, useful but thoroughly unexciting. I like it better now. Especially with my eyes closed. In the early morning. With almost no one around. And gorgeous cotton puffy clouds up above.

Plus I met another surfer in the pool: a Japanese American guy named Nori (like the seaweed). We talked surf spots. Every surfer I meet makes disparaging comments about my usual spot  - the Venice Pier.  It's a "short ride." It "closes down fast." And it's not the easiest spot to learn, because you either catch a wave or you miss it - with not a lot of time in between. Yadda yadda. Over time, I don't doubt, I will be changing regular surf spots. It's only a matter of time.

Nori got out of the pool before I did. My immediate reaction was to use it as proof that I'm tougher than he is. But then it occurred to me that if he'd stayed in longer than I had, I would have put myself down over it. And I would have been the same person, the same swimmer, the same surfer, either way. So I gave it up.  It was nice to swim and it didn't mean a damn thing about me. Tough? Lazy? Quitter? Not committed?

That shit is starting to matter less and less to me. Thank God.

And Thank Gaius Maecenas. He invented the heated pool.

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