As part of my ‘living life to its max’ philosophy, I’ve spent the last few weeks jotting down things I really want to do, in addition to finding my way back to my roots and indulging in my childhood activities (which equals spending time outdoors cycling, rollerblading, walking, and swimming). I’ve figured that that’s the best way to live life – the purity of childhood and the enjoyment of the activities, as well as getting things off the bucket list, seems like a pretty sweet deal to me.
As a kid, I spent hours in the pool every day – training or playing – and always felt happiest in the water. Growing up (and moving away from home and the convenience of my own pool), I lost touch with that side of me. So, while on holiday at home over the festive season, I was determined to take a dip every day – swimming a few laps, splashing water, and just enjoying the absolute relaxation and freedom that floating in water gives me.
But coming back to Cape Town earlier this week and saying goodbye to my pool, I had to come up with a new plan. There are a few public pools around, but Cape Town holds an even bigger challenge: the ocean. Now, I’ve been swimming in the ocean before, but only in Mauritius, and the calm, clear, and warm waters of that sunny island can hardly be compared to the icy waves of the Mother City. I had spent a little more time at the beach last year and was playing with the idea of going into the water, but the cold (and immensity of the ocean) was a large deterrent.
But, alas, now I was determined to make it happen – and so I did. Just like that. No fears, no worries, just walked straight in, swam around a bit, and enjoyed the feeling of a) being back in the water, and b) finally hopping into the ocean. That said, I also chose a surprisingly calm day and, according to my dear friend Patrick, an experienced ocean-dipper who went with me to the beach, the water wasn’t as cold as usual.
With that first dip into the ocean complete, I had to go back – and this time actually face my fear of the immensity of the ocean itself and swim out a little further. So we went back. And this time the water was absolutely freezing and the waves were splashing around wildly and, needless to say, for an ocean novice like me, this was pretty scary. But armed with Patrick by my side to calm those fears and save me from possible drowning (yes, I was paranoid), I went in anyway, and let the waves carry me out a bit and push me back in and, soon enough, I stopped feeling like a kitty sloshed around in a tumble dryer and got used to the motion. I didn’t go out as far as I had planned – the waves were getting rougher and rougher and I’d lost feeling in my toes – and I was persuaded that baby steps would be a good idea, so I swam back to shore and spent the next two hours shivering and slowly recovering feeling in my body.
But it was so worth it. Driving home that day, the absolute freshness of my body awakened all my senses but placed me in a wonderful trance, all at the same time, and the world seemed clearer, the twilight traffic surreal, and everything was magical and beautiful, with all fears and worries calmed and gone. And now, now I can’t wait for the moment that beach time is announced and I can jump back in. New adventures. Happy days.