Just Keep Swimming

Please note I did not title this, “Just Keeping Snowing,” although clearly someone must have sent up that request at the same time someone else requested subzero temps.

Maybe it was those winter Olympians who wanted us to be able to relate to the conditions they thrive in. Let me just say they had me at “luge“.  Nothing more is required to earn my respect.

Lately I’ve been awed by athletes of all kinds.  With the spotlight on the winter Olympics and the incredible amounts of training required to get there, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of training required to get us through the day.

There are situations that require every ounce of determination and discipline we possess to get us through a meeting, a difficult conversation, or an after-school activity involving more than three events going on at the same time.

Phrases like, “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” or “The only way out is through,” come to mind when I think of situations that call for perseverance. They don’t sugarcoat the fact that the present moment isn’t pleasant or current circumstances in no way simulate the comfort of the couch.  

They imply that whatever you’re in the middle of is tough, challenging, or attempting to kick your ass, but you are equal to the task.  In this moment, you can deal with whatever is in front of you and will eventually figure it out, no matter how badly you’d rather be playing ping pong.

In order to do this, you must do what my favorite blue fish Dory does.  Just keep swimming.  Or snowboarding. Or writing.  Or working.  Or doing what’s necessary to keep your family afloat or yourself sober or kids safe or your parents healthy or your business profitable or your self-esteem intact.

Challenges do not have to be dramatic.  You may need a degree of difficulty to keep it interesting, fresh, or engaging, but high drama is not necessary.

As I was entertaining this idea of just keep swimming, I came across a TED talk by a woman who blew it right out of the water (pun intended).

When Diana Nyad says just keep swimming, she means just keep swimming for over 50 + hours straight from Cuba to Florida.  I listened to the details with disbelief.  Can any human actually do this?  Especially a woman who is 64 and already attempted it 4 times?  And the real question is, why would she want to?

But incredibly she did!  She lived to tell about it and encourage us to never give up.

I love to swim, if I have my zoomers, hand fins, swim cap with flowers, water iPod, and an open lap lane in a relatively warm and secluded pool.  I have no desire to swim in a shark infested, jelly fish ridden, pitch black salt water sea of unimaginable terrors.

My degree of difficulty lies in swimming without being detected by anyone I know.  All this ridiculous swim gear rivals my ridiculous winter gear.  But just as the pink coveralls keep me toasty in the frozen tundra, the swim gear makes my arms and legs work harder, and the music motivates me to swim longer and steadier than I might without it.

Having the right tools for the task makes all the difference.  Of all my tools, the one I wield with any predictability, power, or influence is my attitude.

So, might I suggest you jump in?  The water’s fine if you just keep swimming.

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