Last week, on our microadventure, I braved the cold for my first wild swim. I’m not a terribly strong swimmer and in the past, I’ve definitely preferred my water chlorinated and clear to the bottom of the swimming pool, so to have my first wild swim in any water but the sea was a definite milestone for me.
As I stood by the edge of water wearing nothing but my swimming costume, my boyfriend grabbed my phone and took my photo. Then I cautiously clambered over the slippery rocks by the edge of the water, trying really hard not to break my neck, before sinking into the freezing cold water and swimming furiously to try and keep myself warm enough. Swimming in really cold water is completely exhilarating and as I came out of the water I seemed to warm up really quickly. Wild swimming in a beautiful environment at 6am is definitely a positive way to start a day, and one that I hope to do again.
When we got home, I had a look at the photo taken of me (taken from behind, as I gazed out over the water, just about to swim) and my attention went immediately to the parts of my body that I’m not too happy with. Which, if I’m honest, is pretty much all of it. I stared and stared at it, confidence ebbing away. What the hell was I doing, wearing just a swimming costume in public? No matter that the only living thing there, apart from my boyfriend, was a curious cow…
Then I started to see the whole photo, not just my body. I saw that the photo represented what I was doing, not just what I looked like. Yes, my thighs could be smaller, my arms more toned, but I was swimming in a lake. For the first time ever. The truth is this:
Focus on what your body can do, not what it looks like.
The body I have is my one and only vehicle through this life. I should cherish it. Look after it, yes—with good food and regular exercise—but be happy with what it is today. No putting things off until I’m thinner, fitter, better. Do them now. Jump into the lake, whatever that represents. After all, if my friend showed me a photo of herself wild swimming, would I criticise her body? Hell, no. I’d tell her how amazing she is to do something so exciting. Why are we always kinder to other people than we are to ourselves?
And so, to remind myself that my body is capable of amazing things, despite my lack of toned triceps, I have enlarged the photo and added text to it. It says this:
I live adventurously.
Because I do…