I swam this weekend, for the first time since November last year. And I am so pleased with myself, because I swam 32 lengths of 25m, then, because my athletic friend was with me and wanted to continue for longer, I swam another 10 lengths, one of which was front crawl - a stroke I almost never do because I find the breathing a little restrictive.
I did it though, and got up there by practicing a few strokes in the breaststroke length I was doing beforehand. Psyching myself up. Focusing on feeling my arm movement. Concentrating on breathing evenly, and telling myself, yes, you're doing this, and yes, you're doing just fine, and yes, you DO have enough air.
I'm amazed at what I can do. I was on a little happiness vibe for the rest of the day. And that was in addition to the fact I had visitors for the Bank Holiday weekend - two people very dear to me, my ex - him of athletic friendship now, and my only brother. It was wonderful to have people with me. To prepare food for a sunny afternoon barbecue, to cook a yummy lunch for them, to have conversation and companionship.
My father died last month, after a short stay fighting to stay alive in hospital. His heart finally gave out. I miss him, but I'm also glad it was a fast ending, with just a few hours at the end when he was no longer aware of my mother and sister who were at his bedside. I'm glad he was his usual autocratic self, right up to the end, compos mentis to the very last. I'm glad he had a good death. I'm glad I made my peace with him a few years before. I'm glad we finished on a good note between us - Daddy & I often had a rocky relationship, much as we loved each other.
I'm not sure what grief stage I'm in right now. I'm pottering around, getting the garden in shape, doing not very much. Watching things grow. Enjoying the company of my cat. Feeling sad now and then, but getting on with living. Which is good. If this has happened a few years ago, when my emotional outlook was less positive I am sure it would have had a much worse effect on me. Instead of which I am looking on the positives, the gains I made with my relationship with my parents, the mending of them, and the fun times we had both in the long ago past and the recent past. I'm glad a couple of years ago I made the effort to really talk with my dad who was never very communicative, I believe we said everything that was needful between us and things were as good as they could be when he died.
I'm spending a month with my mother, so she will not be alone without family. All of her children and siblings live in other parts of the world. She can't fly due to ill-health herself. And she has a good, busy, friendship-filled and happy life where she is. And being there has the additional benefit of a change of scene for me, an opportunity to kick-start my health journey again.
I did the free BUPA online health age check, just out of interest. Eeek! I am 67! But the good news is, if I improve my nutrition, exercise every day, AND lose weight I can reduce it by 27 years...
I love optimism. I love the 'so, you're in not such a good place right now, but hey, you can fix that' attitude. It is empowerment. It is something that can be changed. Change is good. Life is change. Self-care is always good. Doing nice small things for myself and my environment every day. Like sitting in my garden, pottering around, reading great thought-provoking books, having interesting conversations with friends and family, stroking my cat and playing with her, being mindful about what I say, do and eat.
This was the blog entry I read today by wellness coach, Christine Inge. I think, we can't always control every facet of this river of life we're on, but we can certainly direct it, divert it, and use its momentum to carry us to places we want to be and places we will find most interesting. The best thing I can do now is improve my health and live life fully and well. My current weight is 23 st 4 lbs. Let's see what this summer brings.