Sunday, August 19, 2012

Postcards from Paradise

Yesterday I went to my first swim meet.  My brother, Dave, was competing for the first time in 15 years.  He's 50 now; has been surfing since he was a teenager and is an avid swimming enthusiast.  When he moved back closer to his old swim team location, he got back into training again.

He asked me to come to the swim meet and photograph his events.  I had enough lead time on this that I was able to work up a bit of anxiety.  I'm generally always ready for an adventure but the minute I know I'm going out of my comfort zone - i.e., doing something I've never done before - I get nervous.  There are always questions and what ifs, and how too's, and can I's, and blah, blah, blah.  Of course, once I'm there, I'm fine.  And really, what is more benign than a swim meet?  After all, I wasn't the one doing the swimming.

It was such an eye-opening experience.  All ages were represented, there was cloud cover so the morning was mainly comfortable.  Even a light breeze stirred up the air.  After seeing the Olympics and all those fit swimming bodies, I discovered that there  are swimmers and then there are SWIMMERS. 

The swimmers are you and me.  Many were young and tight, but most were bulging and sagging, man boobs were everywhere and aging female legs, whether thin and slack skinned or saddle bagged and cellulited, abound.  The great unifier was their love for swimming and their complete comfort in their skin.    It was a great lesson to me and how I view my own body, my own harsh critiquing of myself.  Now what to do with the lesson? 

In the meanwhile, there are a couple more meets coming up and I will get to at least one of them.  Oh, and my brother?  He's the third from the right in the picture, fully extended with his left leg flying wildly.  AND - he won three blue ribbons in his age group.  I'm so proud of him.

For more Postcards From Paradise, please click HERE


rebecca said...

your post is refreshing on so many levels. your brother returning to a past love. the wide range of ages sharing something in life together. the beautiful fact that your brother wanted you to share this experience with him. your personal reflections of acceptance. i love that in a culture that does not embrace ageing and holds a superficial ideal of physical perfection these people of varying ages, shapes and sizes chose life. chose living fully in the light of day! chose laying down inhibition and putting on bathing suits and diving into the joy of living!
yes. i love this!!!

gma said...

Bravo for your brother. Love seeing people going for their bliss no matter what age.

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Bravo to your brother and wonderful photo ~ water is always so soothing ~ and invigorating ~ ( A Creative Harbor)

Amy Burzese said...

I can't help but laugh at your description of the swimmers. Young and tight is gone forever here.

Lea said...

I so love your descriptions... Loving our bodies and having a passion in life makes for a good time no matter where we are... Way to go Annie's brother!

Meri said...

Kudos to your brother for embracing his passion and to you, dear one, for pushing through the anxiety. And what great wisdom you brought back to us. I fall into the "well padded and dimpled with cellulite" category. . . and unfortunately, I don't think I'll ever fully embrace my body.

Dawn Elliott said...

How wonderful that you pushed yourself to do something uncomfortable and then had a great learning experieince! Being comfortable in one's own skin is 50+ I'm playing the game of cover-up myself! Kuddos to your bro!!!

see you there! said...

Good for your brother! And good for you going along to get photos.

I love swimming and do it whenever I get a chance. Being a "mature" woman I have plenty of sagging parts that are not covered by a suit. I really don't care. I refuse to be robbed of the joy I find by being in the water.


BrittArnhild said...

I would love a warm swim. We are heading for autumn here now. Tonight I can feel it in the air.

Stephanie said...

I applaud your brothers JUMPING back into this love of his. Interesting observations but love the line of being comfortable in our true in all walks of our lives.

Betsy Adams said...

Wow Annie, That is awesome. I know you are very proud of your brother. What an inspiration to EVERYONE... That's just so neat!!!


foxysue said...

Nice post Annie, we all need to feel comfortable in our own skins because they are the only ones we have and God given! I'm trying my best to love myself more, warts and all!

The flowers you mentioned are called Eryngium - Sea Holly common name, they look fabulous at this time of year a hue of lilac/blue, they are invasive though here, and tend to fall down so need to be planted in among other strong tall plants. x

Pear tree cottage! said...

ANNIE! ANNIE! ANNIE! yes I am yelling with delight at seeing your blog and catching up! your summer has it been good!.....Why am I asking I am going in right now to see your posts.....hugs my friend. Lee-Ann

Jen Chandler said...

Lovely! It's hard to step out of your comfort zone and do something we consider risky. But it always pays off. You feel better for having taking those risks :D

Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting! I appreciate it!


Felisol said...

Congratulations to your brother.
I fully embrace the idea that swimming is for everybody, no matter age size and shape.
In fact, swimming is my best work out, in slow motion that is.
I prefer the salt sea though, and I have stopped counting kilos added to my body each year.
I am who I am and I do what's good for ME.
Once more; catch each moment of joy and movement.

irene said...

Hi Annie, It is uplifting to think of the courage and passion it takes to put yourself out there in public, to take a stance, to follow through despite comparing ourselves to others. How rewarding it is to get that tangible blue ribbon or the wonderful photo documenting the event. You and your brother have uplifted my morning. thank you.

sandy said...

I really enjoyed reading this. How cool your brother wanted you there. I wish I still had my brother around - I miss him so.

Great photo- enjoyed seeing it.

Also enjoyed your description of aging bodies and how people accept theirs.

Jeanie said...

This is really wonderful, Annie. I've been having some serious depression of late, part work; part Gyppy; part financial; part health and part body. A post like this really puts some things in perspective, regarding the negative self-talk. Good timing!

I'm catching up and so sorry I've not been here more often. It's hard to even get out of bed.