I try to write regular blogs for H2Open, but I didn’t think I would have anything to say this month because a shoulder injury has prevented me from swimming. The injury really upset me. After several weeks of healing nicely, it got much worse again last month. I cried for hours to my mother, complaining that all my hard work in swimming would be lost if I couldn’t compete this season and complete my ultimate goal of a 20km swim. She told me to buck up.
Fortunately, I had something to take my mind off it. A friend I’ve been interested in for years finally asked me out. After a few dates, I realised how much I liked him. So I panicked and picked a fight (because that’s how mature people deal with nerves, right?). After two days, I calmed down and called him. It turned out that my panic had spread and he had decided that he didn’t want to go out with me again – he was convinced that our relationship would end badly and he couldn’t bear the thought of the problems we would encounter along the way.
I realised that he and I were nervous for the same reasons. But there was one big difference: I am a swimmer. Although I panicked, I got over my nerves because I am used to dealing with them. Every time I enter the water at a race start, I worry about the outcome. My fears have sometimes been justified – I’ve been stung by jellyfish, got nausea from waves, shrivelled from cold, dehydrated from excessive salt intake, and ultimately could not complete several races. But I’ve also achieved personal greatness. And so I’ve learned that nerve-racking situations are worth the risk. Sometimes we have to fail and learn from our mistakes; other times we succeed and happiness reigns.
I explained this to my date and he said that it was the best argument he’s heard for why people should take a chance on dating. But he still won’t do it.
It’s not the outcome I wanted, but I learned two valuable lessons: even if I can’t swim forever, my swimming experiences will never be for nothing; and I should date swimmers!