“When life gets you down, what do you do?
JUST KEEP SWIMMING!.“
When I was a four year old I loved to swim. I was good at swimming. I was a super speedy four year old butterfly machine on the swim team. (It probably helped that I was the only one who knew how to actually do the stroke!)
In one of my first competitive swim meets, little for year old me jumped ferociously off the block for the 25 freestyle. I was ready to win! Once I was in the water, I kicked kicked kicked and was off with record speed.
As I took a breath I looked to my right–could it be? I was winning! Time to go faster. Kick kick kick with the legs. Pull pull pull with the arms.
I heard a weird noise. Followed by some whistles. They seemed loud and strange, but distant under the water and my swim cap. I was in the zone. The four year old zone. I was gonna win!
Then a rope came down in front of me. That was even weirder. Coach hadn’t talked to me about ropes in the water. So I just swam over it and kept swimming. I wanted to win!
Another rope came down.
I swam over it again.
Coach jumped in the water and crossed to my lane. She put her arms around me to stop me from swimming. Then she lifted me out of the water.
I started sobbing.
Someone (not me) had had a false start. But my team hadn’t yet learned about false starts, disqualifications, so forth. So I had just kept swimming–intent on victory.
Coach told me I had to stop and began to swim me to the side of the pool. She lifted me out of the water, tears streaming down my face. (Come on, I was only FOUR. It was pretty traumatic to get pulled out of the water!)
Coach said that we would have to redo the race. I cried some more, confused. She told me that I didn’t have to go back in. That I wouldn’t have to swim again if I didn’t want to. I shook my head. I cried some more. I put my goggles back on.
“No,” I said, between the loud hiccups that come when you’ve cried too much. “I’ll do it again.” I cried a little more behind my goggles and lifted them up to wipe the tears off my face.
I turned back around. I went back to the starting block. I took my position. And when the race began, I dove in and started over.
I didn’t win the second time–the tears and previous exertion had removed the wind from my sails.
But victory wasn’t important. What mattered was that I got back in the water. I raced again. When given the opportunity, I didn’t give up. Even four year old Lora understood–you have to “just keep swimming.”
And so, when faced with a challenge. A set-back. A disappointment. A momentary hiccup in life. Whatever it may be. You’ve got to keep going. “Just keep swimming.” And if you can do it with a smile on your face, all the better!
I also find that having an amazing breakfast helps. Here’s my recommendation to get you on the right track for a fantastic day: a strawberry peanut butter smoothie!
Strawberry Peanut Butter Smoothie
Makes one large smoothie
- 1 medium to large banana
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt (I used White Mountain Bulgarian Yogurt)
- 2-3 tablespoons organic, natural peanut butter (creamy)
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
Combine all ingredients in blender. Serve topped with a dash of your favorite granola–preferably one that is naturally gluten-free. Savor slowly and get prepared for an awesome day!