Can you remember a sport that you were once good at and the great fun you had?
When I started to regularly swim again two years ago – with the head above water and in the beginning not particularly fast, but rather taking a small break after each lap – I remembered that I used to be a very good swimmer when I was at school and had won all the badges you could get.
Now with almost 60 years there was not much prestige left. I did not even manage to dip my head underwater for a split second without the fear of drowning. I immediately panicked. That frustrated me so much, that the next morning at half past six I found myself at the swimming pool with a coach and 3 other early birds. While the others trained in the main pool, I was paddling in the children’s pool (!) with a kickboard. Inhale deeply and then dip the head underwater – and of course after every try the same panic of drowning. At the end of the lesson my mood had dropped below zero.
Three weeks later however, I had – I myself could not have been more surprised – been promoted into the adult pool. Dipping my head under water was suddenly not scary anymore – I did it without feeling my throat tightening – and I began to gently swim the crawl again. Little by little I remembered what I had once learned and mastered.
After this breakthrough I kept going to the training every week and swimming became my second nature again. It now is a routine in my life – nothing relaxes me more than the rhythmic laps in the pool.
A few weeks ago I swam my laps in a hotel pool when a young girl approached me: “Are you a professional swimmer? You swim beautifully.” After the initial surprise, I was very pleased: No matter how long you have unlearned something, and no matter how old you are: you can acquire all of it afresh – and especially if you have fun doing so. You will learn to enjoy your long forgotten talent again.
Have you had similar experiences? Let us know.
Author: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Gaenshirt