It seems as though the past 6 months have been a total blur. Full of moments that run the gamut of nearly every human emotion:
pressure (and anxiety caused by said pressure) in a period of great transition at work.
Feelings of loss and sadness. The feeling when you cry so much that you can’t breathe and your face hurts because you’ve used so many tissues.
Joy from spending even the quickest, simplest moments with my nieces and nephew.
The camaraderie of training with others, and the sense of accomplishment once it is over.
There have been a lot of things in the news and in my personal life over the past few months that have made me step back and realize how unbelievably lucky I am. As cliched as it sounds, these feelings of gratitude are most intense when I am in my favorite place, the water.
As a middle schooler who didn’t quite fit in with the cool crowd, swim practice was a place to work out my social frustrations and provided an oasis of new friends who weren’t privy to my school issues. It helped my self esteem and confidence levels and I formed long lasting friendships. In college, the pool provided a respite from a tumultuous family crisis. Again, it was a place where I turned to “swim the $@%^ out of it” vs other, negative decisions. I had friends from that same pool that let me cry and got me laughing hysterically when I didn’t think a smile was possible.
There were multiple Walden Pond swims this summer where the water provided the exact outlet that I have always turned to for relief. I would lift my head up to site and see the sun rising above the mist, trees and beautiful Walden pond. If you haven’t experienced it, I demand that you go for an open water swim there next summer. It is such a quiet, pure and zen moment in time. Those moments, though they are so quick, bring me back to the present moment and think: Wow, this whole living thing is great.
So then stroke after stroke, breath after breath I would start thinking about exactly how lucky I am: I have a roof over my head. Clean water to drink. A heating system that works. I have my health. I am very busy, but I also have the time to do things that make me happy: like go on long runs/bike rides, get up ridiculously early in order to make swim practice. My husband and I both have stable jobs. Jobs that we actually like and where we feel appreciated and valued. We have friends and family who we love very much. I wish we could see everyone a bit more often, but such is life.
Life may be short, but I would like to think that we are filling each moment with incredibly important people, beautiful moments and I’m making a point to be incredibly thankful for what we have. So, today I am thankful for not only the water for providing perspective and an outlet to work out stress, but I cannot think about this existence without all of the friends who make my life so full.
Happy Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?