I work at a place that does digital scanning and microfilming of materials such as books, newspapers, documents, photos, slides, negatives, etc. Almost a year ago, I switched from digital to the film department, where most of the material is newspapers. (Yes they still do microfilm, but it’s just for preservation, whereas digital is for access.) I don’t think I’m allowed to mention clients, projects or titles, but I’ll just say I was working on a project today that involves a variety of local papers from just the last couple of years. There was a lot of high school sports coverage.
It got me to thinking about my very un-athletic school days. In particular, some articles triggered my thinking about swimming, and the fact that I didn’t learn until my mid-20’s. Even at that time, it was just kind of learning on my own and not very well.
My sister had swim lessons when we were kids. She was the oldest, and she did nothing but complain about having to take the lessons. I guess that’s why my brother and I didn’t get them. My mom gave up.
There were many times over the years, when it became an awkward and embarrassing issue for me. We were invited to friends of the family who had pools, and there were the pool party invitations, camp, school trips and such. Seemed like everybody knew but me.
I resented my parents for things like that for a long time. Then, I forgave them and learned to swim, even going pretty far out from the beach when I was at the shore one year. In fact, I got the whistle blown at me by the lifeguard to head back in.
Why didn’t I just do that as a kid, you might wonder? Well, I was very inhibited, shy, meek, and as mentioned, not at all athletic. I needed help. I was able to do it as an adult because I had overcome a lot of my issues. Not all, mind you, but a lot.
I feel blessed to have an independent and tenacious spirit. That helped me to conquer swimming, and many other things. With all of them, the first step was to put aside issues like self-pity, jealousy, and resentment. You have to take a good hard look at yourself sometimes and see your own part in things. Sure, it wasn’t my fault as a young kid, that I couldn’t swim, but couldn’t I have done something about it sooner than I did?
Maybe I shouldn’t have had to, but “shouldn’t have to” is the most useless phrase in the English language.
I’d be lying if I said I have no resentment left toward my parents about any issue. I still think about how little guidance I received as a clueless teen. I’ll continue with that in another post.
In the meantime, I’ll just keep doing my best and try to keep looking forward, not back.