Swimming through a mid-life crisis?

@postaday 153; #postaday2011.

Some of  you probably figured out that I’ve taken up swimming again. Some of my friends have only known me soaking wet in a bathing suit since I was a 4-year-old watermelon blowing bubbles in the shallow end with my eyes open, while Mr. Lytle achieved the amazing: taught us all how to swim without getting wet himself. He even wore shoes instead of flipflops! How many of us Riverdel Swim Club kids were sufficiently waterproofed at a tender age? Countless.

Like riding a bicycle and learning to type, being able to swim is what I consider another of life’s essential survival skills. In fact, it surprises me how many people I know, who grew up in Hawaii, do not know how to swim. We’re surrounded by water, folks! What gives? Thanks to learning to swim at an early age, being on the swim team for 10 years, working as a lifeguard, keeping my lifeguard certification active until I was certain I wouldn’t need it anymore, I’ve always been comfortable in the ocean or a pool. Believe it or not, I cannot stand being in lakes or ponds. Not enough refreshing motion.

Later today is my doctor appointment for my left arm. Yesterday’s x-rays determined there is no fracture in my humerus. Something is hurting, but it isn’t that. Tonight I’ll attend my first freestyle clinic with Joe Lileikis at The Oahu Club. For years I’ve watched him coach people of all ages, helping them improve their strokes and improve their times. I want to swim more efficiently. I’d like to be faster. So I think Joe will help me identify habits that keep me from achieving those goals, and help me be a better swimmer.

Last night, while doing my 1,000 meters of mindless motion, my thoughts, as usual, wandered. I’m preparing for a competition in September. I’d like to not be embarrassingly dorky. I’d like to not be embarrassingly jiggly.  I’d like to not finish last. I’d like to finish with a respectable time. I’d like to finish well in my age group.

Then, about lap six or seven, it hit me. Am I going through a mid-life crisis? Is this my last grasp at the greased rope of youth, trying to stay healthy, to be as fit as women 10 or 20 years younger than me, to not be an old sack of skin fading toward the end of life’s conveyor belt? Probably. Is a mid-life crisis limited to worrying about sexual prowess, having the most toys or the most Botox injections? Gawd, I hope not. Hellas if I’m going gently into a passive age-appropriate existence and saying good night! Get a grip. I feel like my biggest hit is yet to occur. I’m not even close to my zenith.

And, yes, you can expect that when I get to it, I’ll own it, write it up and send that missive sailing into virtual space, words for worlds beyond my own.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


  1. I hope your dr appts go well.
    I am intrigued by the swim coach. It’s been 21 years since I’ve had a swim coach and done it regularly… I think that is awesome.
    You’re awesome. ps. I’m 38 and have been in the worst shape of my life.

  2. i don’t think it’s a midlife crisis thing. more like being the best you can be at whatever age you are. i see people a quarter century older than me, going strong. i see guys ten years younger than me who already move like old men. if a byproduct of being strong and feeling good is looking decent in the workout wear … so much the better. i’m not going to be faster than a middle-of-the-pack runner, even within my age division. but being able to go the distance feels great. no corvette required for a sporty midlife.

  3. i never had a midlife crisis. but then i never grew up. i never grew old either. i just woke up one morning and i was old.

    don’t be discouraged if it takes three times the workout to maintain one third your strength of yesteryear. don’t despair if a half day in a staff meeting means you have to get up from the conference table in stages. and your skin? don’t look at it.

    aging can be the bonfire of the vanities or it can be a gift. i bet James Dean would have liked not to have died young and left a beautiful corpse.

    the intellectual rewards of age can outweigh the physical insults

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