Breathe. Jump.

My hands hit the water, 1, 2, 3, breathe. Get up, get ready, traffic, work.

End of the lane, breathe, wait 3 seconds. Go. Career choices, project choices, relationship choices.

Another lap. The wall is coming fast, breathe, plunge, turn, kick. Did I turn correctly? How many strokes can I keep going before surfacing to breathe?

Another year. Did I do my best coaching these people? Why have those left? Am I doing the right thing? Am I happy? Am I unhappy?

Stop. Check timers. Coach switches it up. Mixed style, butterfly and backstroke. How long? Till lungs burn?  Five seconds to process that. Sounds reasonable. Lift elbow more, he says.

Am I doing the right thing? I’m fighting too much in meetings? Why is that a bad thing, THOSE people were saying just the oppos… oh. I see. Shut up. Listen more. 

Someone passes me in the lane. Of course they pass me, I’m doing the backstroke. I’ll catch them when I switch back to butterfly. Oh it doesn’t matter if I catch them? Why? What’s the point then? Right, right, improve my time, my technique. 

Watch people stuck in the same mindset, slowly sinking or floating aimlessly. Listen to people who cannot understand the painfully obvious, again and again. Rush into emotional roller-coasters where safety is an illusion or a retrospectively painful joke.

Gotta go fast though, fast fast fast. 1,2,3, breathe. Did I hire the right person? Just remember the turn before the wall. Did I negotiate that meeting correctly? Two more breaths… Three?  Why do I surrender my feelings to this person? 1, 2…

Impact. Full stop.

Cry. Understand. Heal. Learn. Grow.

Face the water again. Blank mind, calm breath.

Get married, have a kid, build house, start teaching, switch jobs, second kid.

She is my source of strength, they are my sources of joy,  hope and sleep deprivation.

As I watch the sun set upon our garden, I’m thinking, it’s been a really long time since I’ve hit any wall.

5 years away from this notepad.  Where do I even start.