Sunday, April 1, 2012

The First Four Laps

I am a lap swimmer, and although I don't engage in the activity as much as I should (does anyone?), I find plenty of parallels with all sorts of things that I should be doing but tend to delay.

We live in an age of instant gratification. I turn the tap and there is water, I flip the switch and there is light, I open the fridge and there is food. And it seems to be there whether I am putting forth real effort or not. And sometimes I want swimming to be the same way. I want my laps done and I want to enjoy that fluid, limber feeling all day. But I don't want to get my feet wet.

I know how the first four laps will be, the way they always are. I will be cold, I will fixate on all the other things I should be doing, my muscles will complain a bit, and I get the impulse to just get out and take that warm shower. But I know Lap Five is coming, and I will be warmed up and relaxed and in the groove. So I force myself to push through. At my peak, I swim a mile. Right now, because I didn't swim much over the winter, my goal is half a mile.

As challenging as the first four laps are, the final four can be even harder. No one is counting but me. I can cheat a little and climb out early, or let that foot cramp become an excuse. But those are the laps that make the victory. The first four are echoed in the final four. They are the laps that I don't want to do that were the whole point of the exercise in the first place.

I've learned to apply this to all the things I resist, things I know are good for me. Put down the bacon and slowly walk away. That garden needs to be tilled because it's time to plant onions. That scene is not going to write itself. That apology is not going to work if you just think it instead of share it with the party you have wronged.

The first four laps. They are cold, difficult, and not much fun. But you are the only one who can swim them. No one can do it for you.



Jon Olson said...

Yeah. If not you, who? If not now, when?

Karen McQuestion said...

So true, Scott! Great analogy.

Author Scott Nicholson said...

Later, Jon! Much...later....heheh

Karen, thanks for sharing.

Jacob Chastain said...

Hell yes. That's all I can really say... Just found you, and really connect with the words you use, both fiction and non...

Also have had a few Heinekens so that could be what made Me comment. But hell...

See you at the top.

The Coulor of the Soul will be climbing soon. :)