Sink or Swim?

Will Excuses or Willpower Win the Day?

Sink or Swim

I’ve got a nasty case of the wintertime blues. It’s leaving me feeling old, fragile, and unfit. But I’m a fighter, a take-charge kind of woman. So, I’m not down for the count. Now, in my latest attempt to win the Battle of Old Age, I’m taking drastic new steps — more precisely new laps. Will I sink or swim? That is today’s question.

The Sink or Swim State of Play

Yes, I’m a middle-aged mess! So far, everything I’ve tried to improve my sorry physical and mental state has resulted in one big belly flop after another.

Exhausted, I tried to adjust to a sleep apnea CPAP machine but failed. The bad back? That I blame on my genes. My mother had horrific spine problems and now, it seems — instead of passing along her grace and charm — I’ve got her bad back. Oh, well. C’est la vie.

As for the 15 pounds, I need to lose? I thought if I solved the sleep problem, I’d be able to control my eating. So much for that plan! Continually overtired, I continually overeat.

I kept promising to exercise more once the sleep woes were resolved, but I’m still an exhausted zombie and, as everybody knows, zombies don’t exercise.

My Sink or Swim Plan

Despite my frustrations, good middle-aged muddler that I am, I haven’t ceded victory to old age, Father Time, or even Mother Nature. My new plan to be a better me has taken me to the local fitness center’s swimming pool.

It wasn’t easy getting there. Ennui — and even my closet — conspired against me. The ennui needs little explanation. I was tired and lazy. “Too busy today” was my refrain.

Excuse No. 2: As a former Las Vegan, I like my swimming pools like I like my bathtub. Toasty. Preferably with steam clouds rising. The expression “some like it hot” is my water mantra!

Excuse No. 3: As a clean fanatic, I worried the locker room would be germy and gross. I never expect to eat off a locker room floor or even walk barefoot in one, but still, gyms can be hotbeds of all sorts of microbial nastiness and whatnot!

But rats! When I finally made my way to the gym — a mere 3.9 miles from my house, I discovered the place was immaculate and the pool temperature delightfully toe-dipping tepid!

Membership costs were reasonable. The staff was knowledgeable and friendly. The schedule of classes offered multiple convenient times to dive in. “Curses. Foiled again” as Hanna-Barbera cartoon villain Dick Dastardly bemoaned repeatedly.

No Excuses, No Escape … Almost

With my excuses put to rest, the only viable option for not taking the plunge was to quit before starting. I considered it but instead signed up for 30-day trial membership.

My Sink or Swim self-improvement plan did not start off well. I couldn’t find the strap to my halter-top swimsuit — my only swimsuit. I canceled Class 1 of Aqua Fitness and spent the time un-aerobically swimming through an ocean of websites seeking a cute, quick-shipping one-piece bathing suit. Faster than you can say Speedo, I was drowning in options … tummy control suits, halter top suits, suits with built-in bra tops but no underwire support, and suits with built-in underwire.

Ladies, it was a nightmare. Men do not go through this. They just paddle about in any old set of trunks.

Finally, I took the proverbial purchase plunge and bought four bathing suits on Amazon. They arrived in two days, but by then I had missed Class 2. After trying on the suits, I was ready to cancel the gym membership. The suits fit my unfit body, but none looked cute. More accurately, I didn’t look cute in them.

Taking the Plunge

Still, it was sink or swim time. I kept one suit and off I waddled off to the pool, where I was greeted by a shocking sight. Most of the ladies who take Aqua Fitness classes, unlike the ladies who lunch, are a bit older and not so petite.

“Oh, this cannot be the right class for me,” I thought. Then, glancing in the full-length mirror, I was once again reminded that I too am older and a tad hefty. Like it or not, I realized these ladies were my peers!

Sink or Swim Success!

So, I waded into the pool, and guess what? It was a great workout and fun, too. Now I do water aerobics three times a week. I stand semi-submerged next to 80-year-old Sandy. I’m 12 years younger. Still, that sweet smiling woman (who looks a decade younger than she is) kicks my butt each class. She is my model and inspiration to keep at it.

Yes, we women of the pool may be older. We may be overweight and over the hill. But we are determined to stay fit and active till the last tide pulls out. It’s a clear case of sink or swim!

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