Learning: Taking The Plunge

diving in

Every week the folks at WordPress set a weekly challenge. I’ve not taken up the challenge before, but this one inspired me. It is to write about a time I learned something new.

In January 2015, aged 58 and a half, I learned to swim.

Now teaching and learning is something close to my heart. I was a primary school teacher for 36 years and I met all sorts of reluctant or struggling pupils. It’s easy to teach someone who’s ready to learn, who’s receptive to what you’re showing them. However, it’s not so easy to coax someone’s who’s afraid to even give it a try, who has decided in advance they’re not capable of learning. But I thrived on such challenges and persisted and tried everything I could think of to persuade reluctant pupils to just give it a go.

Then, nearly eighteen months ago, the tables were turned. I was now the reluctant learner, the one of was afraid, who didn’t believe myself capable. I had never learned to swim. But I’d set myself some personal challenges when I retired from teaching and top of the list was ‘get in the water and swim, woman!” An additional motivation, on top of the personal challenge, was that I wanted to be able to swim with my grandchildren on a family holiday to Cyprus later in the year.

So I booked a one to one hour long session with the swimming teacher at my local pool.

Now, I should say I’m not afraid of water. I’ve always liked bobbing about in the (warm) sea and when my children were wee, I’d always go in the pool with them when we were away on our annual holiday. I made sure they learned to swim – by delegating the task to my husband.

So, no, not afraid of water. It was just I believed I was the only human being in the history of our species who couldn’t float.

But I was wrong. With the confidence building teaching of my wonderful teacher, Yvonne, during that one hour in the pool I eventually took my feet off the bottom of the pool and with a few feeble and styleless strokes I swam. I swam a couple of widths. I went out of my depth and I treaded water. Me! the least buoyant human ever – could both float and swim.

I walked home through the January snow, oblivious to the cold, wrapped in a coat of smugness and pride. An Olympic medallist couldn’t have felt more proud.

I’ll never be a water baby, but yes, I swam with my grandchildren last summer.

I did it. I took the plunge and learned something new. And boy, did it feel good.

11 thoughts on “Learning: Taking The Plunge

  1. Loved this. It takes a lot of courage to learn swimming as an adult. I’m a swim coach, and the father of one of my favorite little swimmers started taking swim lessons last spring so he could share that activity with his son. That’s love.

  2. Lat year, after me teaching my granddaughter how to blog, she insisted that I expand my horizons and learn how to Tweet, use Instagram, Facebook and Messenger. So I did. I’m not sure what good it all is…seems to be focused on quantity of followers not quality of content, but it’s nice to know she still thinks I’m cool enough to do all that stuff.

  3. Huge congratulations, Anne. I love swimming but got the shock of my life one evening when I heard my name being called across the pool and turned to see my wonderful Granny, who sadly never mastered floating, giving it a go. I’m delighted you were able to swim with your grandchildren because I know I learnt a lot from my Granny that evening. It’s doesn’t really matter whether or not you’re successful at everything you try, the important thing is to ‘have a go’.

    • Thanks Rae, for visiting and for your kind comments. Absolutely agree – better to have tried and failed than never to have tried 🙂

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