Monday, July 7, 2008

Talking Under Water

My current job sets me up with a pretty beast schedule. I only work three long 12 hour shifts a week. Granted, they toss me around from days to nights and nights to days so often that I generally have no idea what day of the week it is, but that’s okay because did I mention I only work 3 days a week? For that I am thankful.

My favorite thing to do in the summer with these days off, so far at least, is to go to the pool. I didn’t discover how much I enjoyed the pool at my apartment complex until the end of the summer last year. So, this year, I have been taking full advantage of it.

It occurred to me recently that I am getting a lot older. Yeah, I know, duh, no brainer. But the pool is really helping me to see that a lot more clearly. The sometimes nice thing about my apartment complex is that there are always tons of kids, which always makes it feel safer, at least to me, unless of course they are darting out in front of your car on their skate boards or riding their bikes out into the middle of the rode without helmets. But that point aside, the great majority of these kids spend their summers at the pool and so does all their pool gear: goggles, flippers, swimming boards, pool balls, floaties, among other odds and ends, that I find absolutely ridiculous.

I was recently intrigued by these two, bright blonde headed, girls, that couldn’t have been more than 6 years old who were playing in the shallow end of the pool. The girls were playing a game I used to play when I was little, since floaties, flippers and other water equipment was not as popular as they are now. The girls were playing a game where they would go under the water and say something and then come up above water and guess what the other girl was saying. They were full of endless smiles and giggles. And I couldn’t help but think about what I wouldn’t give to go back to the days when I was smiling like this in the pool and playing these silly games.

Now, instead, I worry about what the lifeguard thinks, how stupid I must look wading in the water all by my lonesome. I remember how when I was younger I could have cared less about how cold the water was and would have just jumped in regardless. I liked the pool so much, I probably would have jumped in if it was raining or cold out. Now, instead, I walk down the steps in the shallow end and take about 15 minutes to decide whether or not it is even worth it to proceed any further seeing as the water is frickin’ freezing. I don’t do handstands or pretend that I am a mermaid anymore, or try to scare the lifeguards and innocent bystanders into thinking I have drowned with the “dead man’s float.” Crowd favorite, that one.

I guess what I am trying to say is that while I am happy with where my life is and how far I have come at my age, I’m not sure I am ready to let go of the fun little things in life. There is no reason why I should give a crap about what the lifeguard is thinking or about getting my hair wet in the water. I notice more and more, especially being around kids at the pool, that I am actually a grown up now. And sometimes I think it is a little scary.

So, I remind myself when my head gets crazy like this, to think of the words of the lifeguard when little kids are running around the pool: “Slow down!”

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