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How Do You Jump Into the Pool?

Okay… if you know me, you know that my whole life is wrapped up in my family.

I left home at the ripe ol’ age of 17 – accelerated high school and went to college three hours away from my parents and got a job (actually two) and got married and a degree. A little out of order but it worked for me. There was no turning back once we said “I do”  — gasp! — thirty-one years ago. And I couldn’t be happier.                  (Well, okay I could be happier with a big house on an island and a bicycle to ride everywhere, but everything brings along its own set of problems doesn’t it? So yeah, I could be happier but then… I couldn’t. You know what I mean.)

And then we had our family, but there are all kinds of families — the family you’re born into, the one you raise, and finally the family you choose to adopt into, identify yourself with. Kinda like taking on a new last name or dyeing your hair a completely different color, or losing weight and going down a whole size and trying on clothes you’d never considered for yourself before….

Yeah, that hasn’t happened for me in a long time either. Anyway…

Wings — my older son whose head is in the clouds — and Fins — my younger, very serious, scuba diver son — are packing up to move to their dorms. Operation Empty Nest happens in two weeks. And OMyGoodness TWO WEEKS FROM FRIDAY I WILL HAVE AN EMPTY NEST ! At least until the holidays. I think.

I have been assured that this will be a good phase for me by my adopted sisters in several of my different adoptive families. What I’ll need for this new phase include wine, chocolate, and options to explore, combined with an exercise plan and a support network to combat the effects of alcohol and chocolate on my menopausal metabolism.

Now, about the wine. I am not a Pinterest Foodie and neither am I a Wine Expert. If it’s in a wine-type container – bottle, communion chalice or cardbordeaux – it’s all fine with me. I plan to try out some recipes for sangria and granita — a summer ago I ripped a watermelon-wine granita recipe out of an old O magazine. And since that magazine was from the dentist’s office I guess I owe them a Sangria-Granita party. Maybe with a piñata filled with chocolate.

My latest exercise fixation is an aqua aerobics class at a public pool. My knees can’t take the pounding from running anymore and I’d like to walk as long as possible in my old age and also if I ever go on another cruise I want to be able to swim like Shelley Winters did in the Poseidon Adventure. Just in case.

I’ve noticed that everybody’s got their own ‘jump-into-the-pool’ style. Those of advanced age with weightier bodies and stiffer joints, too much food or too much pain from illness and injuries tend to take the stairs and tentatively walk from the shallow end to the deeper end. They stay where it’s comfortable, keeping their head and shoulders dry. Those who are more athletic and more confident of their bodies’ abilities step right into the water at the deeper end, unafraid of going under or hitting bottom, sure they’ll bounce right back up like a buoy.

Children jump. Willy-nilly, full-in, with or without arms to jump into. And then they laugh (usually). Trusting that they’ll surface… that the water will be a friend.

Is the difference from knowing how much there is to lose? Do the athletes feel more comfortable in a physical situation because they have more confidence in themselves and their bodies? Do we shy away from immersing ourselves into what’s unknown or uncomfortable because we’re afraid we won’t surface? Are we afraid no one will catch us when we fall?

I  am a hopper — I sit on the edge and put in my feet and then hop in somewhere between shallow and deep, immersing only half of myself, keeping my head dry until class begins. And then I get totally wet, but only after testing the bottom, testing my support system, testing myself.

I’m ready to step into the deep end of the pool now.

What’s your next phase? Your jump-in-the-pool style? Do you trust yourself? Or do you trust the water will be a friend, buoying you back up?

Or do you have family, people who will help you surface if you hit bottom?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

3 thoughts on “How Do You Jump Into the Pool?

  1. I’m a cautious person when entering the water. It’s usually too cold for me and I have to get used to it. But that’s very different than how I handle life. I usually jump into that without looking. As a matter of fact, I went to lunch with some girls from work and then on the way home went and got my nose pierced. No plan, just do it. Now I had thought about it, considered it, wanted it. But I knew that work would make me take it out for my job…I didn’t care this time. I jumped. Sometimes the best things happen when you aren’t looking! Thanks for a great post.

    I’m so excited to finally have an empty nest in a few years. Unfortunately, with the cost of living, too many times the kids move back in… I’m not getting my hopes up!

  2. Jumping in…I rarely go into a pool. I prefer saltwater where waves lap at your feet.

    Years ago (we won’t count how many) I took Junior Lifesaving, I had on the perfect bikini. Its was robin’s egg blue with little daisies.I had to dive off the high board, come to the surface, then swim the backstroke to a floating dummy at the other end of the pool. I jumped and swam as fast as I could…I was only one of two girls in the class of eight. I would Not allow a boy to have a better time. (The kind found on a stopwatch)

    I did make the best time and it turned out to be the most humiliating time for me. (Not the kind found on a stop watch) Yes, the boys had a good time (not the kind found on a stop watch.) My bikini top had shifted up.

    Since that day, I’ve never entered a pool to dive in anything but a one–piece.

  3. I’m the ‘ease in’ type of person. I don’t like the shock of cold water (and it is always colder than my body temp). Midway in, I submerge. I am sort of that way in life as well. I ease into social situations–test the waters first, so to speak, before I commit.

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