‘It’s really easy: just move your hands outward and away from you in a big arch, and move your feet in the same rhythm’. ‘Really easy… yeah, right.’ Learning to swim – I hated it. I hated water, and I could not understand what spoke against using floaties. After all, I felt, they are such an ingenious invention. Why not keep using them? ‘No’, my mother commanded. ‘Today you are going to learn to swim’. So she taught me to swim.
Who of us was never thrown into the cold water? Who never faced a situation they had to master a new situation without having been prepared for it? Who never faced problems that appeared insurmountable? Sometimes it’s the small things that pose really big challenges, like dealing with that form you need to submit to the authorities, or giving your flat a thorough clean. At other points in life, the challenges are bigger, like starting a new job, moving into a new town or dealing with serious illness. Sooner or later we all need to learn to swim in order to survive.
„I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow.“
Looking back, I feel something that resembles pride. A conviction was planted in my heart, telling me: I can do this, somehow I can do this. It may not turn out perfect, I may make mistakes, but I needed to find myself thrashing around helplessly in the water before I could learn to stay afloat in the new element. It may not always have been elegant, at times I may have needed to hold on to the poolside, but in the end I conquered my fear.
„When life puts you in tough situations, don’t say ‘why me’, say ‘try me’.“
Would I want to be 18 again? No way! Back to feeling insecure, back to being overwhelmed by the demands posed by the world. Feeling that fear of the future again, that uncertainty? Being worried about the dark, deep waters of adulthood? I’m good, thanks. Looking back, I see that my confidence and optimism has grown by the year. I am proud of every challenge I overcame, of every experience that provided me with an opportunity to grow. I am proud of every skill I acquired, every problem I solved. Today, ten years later, I am filled with the conviction that I can do everything, and that conviction outweighs my fear of failing. Here’s another thing I learned: it is ok to fail. It is simply a natural part of the process.What matters is that you don’t give up and approach your goal one step at a time, even if the journey takes you on long detours. It’s important to always take that next step instead of treading on the spot for fear of what may await you. Sometimes we need to jump into the cold water to really understand that swimming is not that difficult or terrifying. It’s ok if it takes a while before we really master it. What counts is to dive in – without floaties.
„She needed a hero, so that’s what she became“.