A few weeks ago, in a flurry of resolutions and dedications, I signed up for some water classes at the YMCA. Those classes officially began last week, a time when I most certainly needed to get out of the house and clear my mind. I figured a) I already paid for the classes, b) working out could be therapeutic, and c) I needed to keep promises I made to myself. Sure I just lost my job and really, really want to wallow in the doldrums and feel crummy about myself, but this was not the time to quit a class before I had even begun.
The class I signed up for had a very jaunty and fun sounding name: water joggin’
You could tell it was going to be wild because even the name didn’t have time for an extra “g”.
I figured the class would be a couple of stay at home parent types. They probably had all known each other for ages and I would feel all weird and awkward about jumping into the next season of classes with them. As far as what was supposed to happen in “water joggin”, well I had NO IDEA. My best guess was we were all to trot around the pool in a circle.
When I got to the locker room for the 1st day of class I saw an older woman who had just finished getting into her swimsuit and was making her way towards the pool. I eagerly called out to her, “are you here for the water joggin class?!” She turned back to me and gave me a look that said, “What the fuck?”
Of course I continued. I am very good at continuing. “The 9:30 class. In the pool? WATER JOGGIN.”
The woman shook her head, I was obviously speaking tongues, and said, “Dear, you just put on your suit and get in the pool. Ok?”
So I did that. I quickly changed into my swimsuit and shoved my winter clothes into a locker. I delicately stepped my way towards the pool and braced myself for making new friends and all that jazz. When I opened the door I had to stop myself from laughing with relief. The pool was not filled with people who oddly make me stressed out and anxious: also known as people my age who probably have jobs and stability and heaps of all of the stuff I find lacking within myself.
The people who were at the pool were the kind of people who immediately make me feel calm and at ease. Oh yes, old folks.
I slid into the water and joined the class that had just started. The woman I had “met” in the locker room became my buddy during class. As we jumped and twirled about in the water with giant pool noodles between our thighs, she let me know that there is someone teaching “some kind of water class” every week day from 9:00am – 11:00am. She also said most people who come to the classes show up early to socialize and warm up.
For the next one and half hours I completely submerged myself into the class. It was a blast. The next morning I went to water zumba (OMG), and the next day it was water aerobics.
I had no way of knowing how restorative being in the pool would be for me. The act of getting in the water and pushing against resistance. The joy of easy conversations with people who have not ONCE asked me what I do for a living or any kind of personal questions.
I’ve not been as organized this last week with some of the job type goals I set for myself, but I’m going easy on me. It’s going to be ok. Every time I got out of the water I believed that more deeply. There is a power in that I hope I will be able to harness.
Image: “LADIES HOME JOURNAL, SWIMSUIT LAYOUT”, George Eastman House Collection