I find myself thinking and writing about this and that. Specifically swimming and running. Of course this is not only about swimming and running, or indeed about any form of exercise. As you read what ‘swimming’ and ‘running’ mean for you, I imagine what you think of and picture will be unique to you. I have an inkling though, that you will know for yourself, what is ‘this’ and what is ‘that’.

My whole life I have swum. I have made my way to whatever local pool I lived by as often as I possibly could. Swimming comes naturally, I am well rehearsed, I know the patterns my body and nervous system follow over and over, I have refined techniques for endurance, speed, efficiency. I float, glide and am held by the water. I have missed this. I have missed exchanges with other swimmers and having them alongside, like we all know the greatest secret. COVID 19 meant there was no swimming, for over 3 months. Then, finally I drove nearly an hour for an outdoor swim in a marine lake. It was glorious. It wasn’t even a nice day, grey, wet and windy, the water chilly and not in a refreshing way.  I climbed in and swam and swam and gazed at the sky and breathed deeply and embraced the wonder of swimming ‘out of lane’ in the lake, for as long as possible. I remember being a little nervous before, joking that I might sink because I was out of practice. Though of course this was not the case, rather it was total flow and part of me was restored and healed in the water. I was put back together and emerged more intact and revived than before. A great big part of me had been missing and now it was back. I can live off consolation like that for ages. This swimming lark is a life love, something I can progress in, commit to, challenge myself. I dream of my next swim and long for when I can go again freely. Swimming is my ‘this’ and it confirmed in me what my other ‘this’ is. I know for other folk swimming is definitely a ‘that’ because you have to get all wet and cold, and if they have to swim they would prefer lanes so at least they know where they are and can feel safer.   

Running is like that for me. It is my ‘that’. It is also reminds me of another ‘that’ in my life.

Running for me is unfamiliar and in many ways has been unappealing. Lockdown had other plans. So I’ve learnt how to run, I’ve tried hard. I’ve got better. I can make it round a route and I can see why others love it. Parts are fun, especially on a good-weather-but-not-too-hot day, being in the great outdoors, inhaling passing flies. So running has fulfilled a function for me, I had some transferable fitness (to a degree). But running has different demands on my body and my mental endurance. I do not leap out of bed wanting to go or look forward to when I can next get out there. I have managed a certain distance and I will not be attempting any further. Now lockdown is easing I will keep what I’ve learnt about running, I will keep up my new found skills. But I know I am only part-soothed by it, it is not what makes my heart sing. I can do it, just about, and I applaud those who do it much better and love it. But for me running is a ‘that’. It reminds me of my other ‘that’.

Life is made up of this and that

Give a bit of this

Take a bit of that

In out in out

Shake it all about

You can’t have this

Without some of that

I love this

Not so sure about that

Life is made up of this and that

Give a bit of this

Take a bit of that

In out in out

Shake it all about

You do this

I’ll do that.

Swap.

I’ll do this

You do that

Life is made up of this and that

Give a bit of this

Take a bit of that

In out in out

Shake it all about

I’m very good at this

And not so good at that

I’m drawn to this

I’d rather leave that

Life is made up of this and that

Give a bit of this

Take a bit of that

In out in out

Shake it all about

You love your this

Which might be my that

I’ll bring my this

You drag along your that

That and this

This and that

In out in out

Shake it all about

Seems to me that maybe life needs both, some of this, a little bit of that. There will always be a ‘that’ which demands some time and attention and energy. I expect you know what that is. So may we identify ways to get enough of ‘this’. Times, places and people where we can put down that, take up this and shout out loud ‘Look at this! I love this! I was made for this!’.

Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

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