It is drizzling outside and I decide to make the journey that I have been putting off all weekend over to the PAC for the meditative swimming exercise. I am not too thrilled about this activity, so I decide to keep the suffering to a minimum and plan to drive myself to the PAC, rather than endure the humiliation of a wet walk back to my apartment through the drizzle.
I type my code into the gates of the PAC and make my way past all the “elliptical people” and enter the locker room. I strip down and prepare myself for the monotony that is to come. Then I enter the dark grim pool that is the PAC. I wish there were a way for me to fake sick and get out of this, as Jackson says and as I have done myself, if I could just get a little bit of visible vomit maybe I could just go home and take a nap. But not today, today I am only accountable to myself and try as I might, there is no way to avoid this. I have never enjoyed doing anything alone really, not without some sort of stimulation. I live in the world Tsui describes a place filled with tv screens and music and all kinds of stimuli to keep me away from my thoughts, though in my case its really computer screens, iphones, and Netflix that capture my attention most of the time. I look up at the interval clock through my cloudy UV protectant googles, and push off from the wall. I start in a smooth streamline, start my fly kick and finally reach the surface of the water and begin my pulling at a smooth constant pace. So far so good. I move through the strokes as I see fit, starting breastroke halfway down the pool, that seems to help with the swim a great deal. I start focusing on the sounds around me, the echo of the PAC pool that just makes me wish I was outside.
My mind moves to how much I have actually swam and I realize that I have no idea or concept of how much I have really accomplished. And then that’s when I think I start to panic. I’m getting tired, this activity has become frustrating and then I am faced with what I have been thinking around this whole time, myself. I start thinking about primarily the personal relationships in my life. Not to sound sappy, but my mind really does wander to romantic love affairs. The calm swim makes me reflect on my mistakes and on the coming abrupt end of one of my endeavors. I am left feeling sad, nostalgic, and reflective but I “just keep swimming” and eventually my mind moves quietly and calmly to the next thing. I am left feeling more knowledgeable about my situation, and feeling more optimistic as a whole on things to come. Self-reflection is something we all have to face at some point and the rhythmic flow through the water really helps to put things in to perspective. You have to face yourself eventually, so why not in the water?