Wednesday 21 August 2019

I'm pretty certain I'll only get one shot at this

John Greene: don't be too hard, or too easy, on yourself. Photo: David Conachy
John Greene: don't be too hard, or too easy, on yourself. Photo: David Conachy

John Greene

On the drive to Drogheda, I ran it through my head again. Are you sure? Yes. Are you ready? Yes. Do you know what to expect? No. Are you nervous? No.

"You look nervous," says Grainne.

It's my first meeting with the person who is going to teach me to swim and she has cut right to the chase. "No need to be nervous."

"I didn't think I was," I replied, but maybe I was wrong.

Twenty minutes later - and this is not a joke - I was floating naturally for the first time in my life. It was a couple of seconds, but I'll take it. I had also, it seems, managed to kick my legs in what was a passable impersonation of someone who knows what they are doing.

But for some reason, I'm not happy. Grainne doesn't appear happy that I'm not happy.

"What did you expect?" she asks.

"Nothing, well, that is, I didn't know what to expect. I guess I didn't expect much."

Her reply, as direct as it was, caught me off guard. "Well, I have high expectations . . ."

I knew what she meant: that I had reached this point, 20 minutes into my first ever swimming lesson, at this stage in my life, and there was no turning back. I had kicked off the wall and moved away from my comfort zone.

This is a big step to take and you have to be satisfied you are in good hands. I'm pretty certain that I will get one shot at this - that if it doesn't work out then that's the end of any hopes I have of being able to swim because it has taken so long to get to this point.

In that moment, however, any doubts I have are dispelled. In that moment, I know I am in good hands, I can trust my swim instructor to lead me where I need to go. The rest will be up to me.

Tip: They say don't be hard on yourself; but don't be easy on yourself either.

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