Tuesday 27 September 2016

I find myself wondering: what else is out there?

Published 23/11/2015 | 02:30

John Greene - looking at the world in a different way. Photo: David Conachy
John Greene - looking at the world in a different way. Photo: David Conachy

This thing is growing legs. This whole change is possible thing that is. On the face of it, we are six people attempting to do six very different things; it's not as if there's much of a link between learning to swim and learning to smile.

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As the weeks go by, though, it has become clear there is a connection. We have been taken beyond our comfort zones, we are looking at the world in a different way, and at ourselves. I guess that's the whole point. It's a journey of discovery.

I am not just learning to swim. There are other things going on too. There are other benefits. There is a back story. And there are a few new stories too.

First, the benefits: There may be a time in your life where you get to thinking an old dog can't be taught new tricks. He can. You may also get to a stage where, having already overcome many of the hurdles life can throw your way, you don't have the fight for more. You do. These are important discoveries.

I am thinking beyond learning to swim. I am not taking for granted, not for a second, that learning to swim is a done deal, even though I'm determined not to fail. But as last week's lesson proved, I have a long way to go. In practice I became frustrated and fixated on the mechanics of what I'm learning and made the mistake of carrying that frustration into the lesson. I was not in the proper state of mind from the start, and it affected the lesson. That was a silly mistake, especially for someone who played a lot of sport in the past and so should have known better.

Which brings me to the new stories: I'm enjoying being taught something I once considered beyond me; I'm enjoying the challenge of learning, and I'm wondering what else might be out there for me - going back to college, learning a musical instrument for the first time, or learning to speak Irish. Or what about all three?

And then there is the back story. On July 1, I was nearly 13 kilos heavier than I am now. There is no way I would have been able to take on this, or any, challenge if I had not overcome that one first. Change is possible.

TIP: Be in the right frame of mind.

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