Back in the day, I had a 40×40 list, a list of 40 things to do before I was 40. Well I turned 40, and upgraded the list. One of the things on that new list was – finish the old list! One of the things on that list? Go into the sea, up to my waist… bear with me, I can explain!
This one seems like such an easy one to achieve; I live about 20 miles from the coast (although to be fair calling the water at Weston Super Mare ‘the sea’ is being bit generous!) And everyone loves splashing about at the beach. However I have made two attempts at this task and knee deep is as far as I have got. In fact you can watch me try at both Weston and Brean. I just don’t like being in tidal water; it is terrifying. I put this fear down to one event back in 1994.
Let me take you on a journey…
I was in Salou, Spain, with my friend Sarah and her family and we were having a day on the beach. We were jumping waves, having fun, when a freak wave took me out.
To be fair I was a pretty small target and weighed next to nothing (sigh, those were the days) so it didn’t particularly require a strong wave to take me out. My problem came when I attempted to get up and out. An undercurrent was towing me out to sea and struggle as I might to get my head above the water, as soon as I lifted it to gasp for air, another wave would come and smack me in the face. ‘This is how I die’ I thought. ‘I am going to drown on holiday – My mum is going to have a fit’. Luckily my friend Sarah was not only a good 8 inches taller than me, but an excellent swimmer. Realising my plight, she grabbed me and I was dragged to shore. The whole event probably lasted 25 seconds…the longest 25 seconds of my life! While I didn’t appreciate it at the time I was now scared of the sea.
To be honest, I am not great around water, full stop. I have palpitations when I see small children stood near the edge of ponds, and feeding the ducks has always been traumatic.
Before writing this I looked back over my two attempts to get in the sea over on my Vlog – I have a real problem! If it isn’t all related to my Salou incident then I think I can work out why I am like this; I am not good at swimming and would not be able to save someone. I used to have nightmare when the kids were little about the pram rolling into a river and there being nothing I could do because if I jumped in, we would all be dead. I need to become a better swimmer.
Hmm, I started writing this post about one thing and it has morphed into another!
Through a process of bloggy self-analysis we have discovered that I need to be more confident in the water. When I go swimming – cannot remember the last time that happened – I currently need to be able to touch the bottom, or the side of the pool. This is clearly a confidence issue due to my lack of skill (and possible PTSD following a near death experience). My terrible lungs and inability to breath like normal people probably doesn’t help either. ..
So moving forward… next summer (or earlier if a surprise visit to somewhere warm pops up!) we are going to the beach and going in the sea.
Before then, a visit or two to the local baths will hopefully get me in the zone. ‘Swim’ is actually on the Kettle List – just that, swim. As part of the EBI challenge I did look into how I could quantify this task. 50 lengths? Swim in 50 different places? Gain a lifesaving qualification?
What are other people’s experiences with water? What helped you to gain confidence?
Let me know in the comments.
But for now, sadly, this task remains: