Monday 22 October 2018

Redefining 50: I didn't sign up for decline

'There's only one answer, show up, get in the water, and keep moving'
'There's only one answer, show up, get in the water, and keep moving'

Last weekend was when I really noticed the change for the first time. I had been away from the sea for three weeks, which didn't help. Regular immersion is key to not realising that it is in fact a mad thing to be doing. When you take a break and you come back, you see it clearly, and you realise that it is daft. You ask yourself awkward questions like, 'What am I doing here?' 'Why am I doing this?' and 'What's the point?' It is somewhat of an existential crisis, whatever that is.

Better to be the boiled frog, and to regularly immerse, so it almost seems normal, a mindless habit.

The first few minutes were pain. Actual pain. It was biting me. I wanted to get out. It would have seemed very easy at that point to just get out and walk away, to come back next summer when it is a pleasure again. But I powered through, and put my attention elsewhere. Don't think about the biting on the extremities. Don't think about the gradual shrivelling and numbing of other parts. Look at the sky, focus on reaching out and pulling. Focus on the rhythm. There are all kinds of things to be learned here. Like that you can choose where to direct your attention, that even if you are swimming in the gutter, you can be looking at the sky.

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