I spent much of this year dreading my birthday, which came today anyway, in spite of my best evasive maneuvers. I’ve found that dread is a very effective life skill, if used properly.
Dreading this birthday forced me to really look at my life and confront what I didn’t like (most of it). Then I had to actually do something to change it, like get my butt out of bed and exercise when I would have rather slept in, or work, when I would rather be zoning out with Netflix.
Dread forced me to have a date to shoot for. There was no way I was turning bleepty and not accomplishing at least a couple of these things.
And my awesome family and fantastic circle of friends helped me celebrate, what I hadn’t been able to face, with phone calls, wonderful gifts and support.
This was probably the most fulfilled I’ve ever felt on a birthday because I actually accomplished something I never thought I’d be able to do.
I swam (while actually breathing) all the way across the “big people” pool at the YMCA in La Crescenta! This may not sound like much to those of you who grew up with swimming lessons, but for me, who’s never really been comfy in the water, this was huge. Thank you to each of my very patient swimming instructors at the YMCA, you were great!
I even asked my son to tape my big moment, so I can relive the terror I was feeling. (I had planned to just hop in and swim from the deep end to the shallow end, but a woman in the pool forced me to start at the shallow end because she said that’s how the rules work with more than one person in a lane. This terrified me because, even though I can technically swim, I am still not totally comfy in very deep water. I wanted to end up in the shallow end, not the deep end.
So if you watch the video and it looks like I’m drunk, it’s because I had to close my eyes when I got to the deep part and kept veering toward the lane separators. (It’s about as exciting as watching furniture get dusted, but was a thrill for me. You can hear me whoop when I finally reach the end.) Here’s a link to it on YouTube, so you can mock me from the comfort of your chair.
It’s not perfect swimming, but it’s a goal crossed off the bucket list. Next, I will work on getting over my fear of deep water, learn to tread water better and try to swim two laps, then three, etc.
I also finally mailed a few chapters of my book, which I spent weeks tweaking, to a literary agent on Friday. Even if she doesn’t end up representing me, it’s a step.
I’ve lost seven pounds (which may or may not reappear after my birthday dinner tonight — we’ll see) and have five more to go. (Clearly, it’s not just a myth, diet plus the elliptical and swimming really work!) And there are so many more things I want to accomplish this year.
None of it would have happened if sixty (there, I said it) hadn’t shown up in all its demoralizing glory.
If you’ve hit a birthday and accomplished something you always wanted to do, please tell me! Or send a link to a video, so I can cheer you/mock you from the comfort of my chair.
Two goals down, eight guajillion to go.
Thanks, as always, for reading!