It’s Sunday morning, I’ve been up since before 6am flicking the TV channels between the Rugby World Cup and F1, supping tea while surfing the net.
Distraction, if you will, ahead of what’s to come later today. My first swimming lesson since school across the city at Leith Academy.
If I’m honest, I feel a little stupid, embarrassed. I’ll be turning up to meet strangers and admitting that I can’t do what they revel in.
Friends and co-workers asked what I was doing this weekend. I hesitated to confess, wondering just what their reaction might be.
And when I came clean, each looked a little startled, coming back with: ‘What, you can’t swim – at all?’
There was plenty of encouragement, of course. Yet it must be strange for folk who have swam all their life to meet a pool dunce.
So I’m hoping for a good day. I’m putting trust in the experts from TotalSwimming in more than just the physical training, but confidence too.
For me swimming isn’t just a hobby to take up, it’s very much unfinished business.
It’s up there with learning a foreign language, visiting New York and Washington in the US, touring Vancouver and the Rockies of Canada, watching an NBA game at Madison Square Gardens and learning how to ski.
There was a time a few years ago I’d have simply lamented and put all these things down to having been missed opportunities.
But at the turn of the year I rediscovered my mojo, my old self. The one who always wants to do better, take a risk and have fun trying.
So sure, I’m learning to swim at the tender age of 38.
But why not?
What rule dictates that just because I didn’t manage in my teens that I have to give up?
Is there any reason in the world why I shouldn’t invest time and money in my long held ambitions to speak from a choice of French, Spanish, Italian and or Arabic, enhance my learning?
My highest qualification is an HND. Perhaps one day I’ll better than with degree or a Masters. Twenty years ago I may have felt inhibited by social circumstance, but not now, not for a very long time.
It’s not that I need one, gratefully my career’s evolved enough that I’m past having to have demonstrate it through a piece of paper. I’d just like to prove that I could, for myself.
Hell, maybe sometime I’ll even pick up a few chords strumming on a guitar until I’m in a position to learn the piano as I’ve always wanted.
My point being none of these things are out of reach unless I let them be. Only inertia and excuses.
Last year I’d given up all hope of not being fat. I settled for buying bigger and baggier clothes and would ask you to pass me another biscuit please.
Fast forward 10 months and I’m lighter than I’ve been in more than a decade and am hours away my first swimming lesson since school.
Turns out only thing stopping that all from happening was me.
I’d stopped believing, I guess. Settled for something rather than keep striving for better.
Today then, is a chance to prove I can keep on improving.
It’s also the start of another chapter. If TotalSwimming can teach this old dog new tricks, then what other opportunities may it open up.
How far can I push myself?
The guys today claim on their website that they are Revolutionising Swimming. We’re about to find out.
Their website lists a few benefits: safety, obvious; apparently learning to swim makes kids smarter; the social factor; improved health; fun and sense of achievement and inclusiveness of family.
The other thing I’d add in there is self-belief. Without it, underachieving is acceptable.
With just two and a bit months to go until this challenge is over, you better know I’m not about to let that happen.