My husband had a life-long fear of large bodies of water. Recently, however, at almost 50 years old, he learned to swim. Within two weeks of his first stride, he was ready to show other family members what he learned so that they too could swim. Watching him has been exhilarating. It took courage: In order to float, you must let go, breathe, and allow the water to take over. At first you sink, then all of a sudden, almost magically, you start to float to the surface.
It was an important lesson for both of us. First, it is never too late to learn something new and worthwhile. Second, what took so long! He was swimming across the pool within days, learning new strokes, and floating on his back. He entered the deep end on his own in just under two weeks. Now his mind is filled with possibilities: Swimming in a lake or ocean; enjoying pool parties instead of sitting on the side lines; swimming with our grandson; enjoying pools at hotels and resorts; snorkeling, scuba diving, canoeing, white water rafting, jet skiing, and even accepting boating and cruise invitations without trepidation.
There is one other time that I remember that kind of opening of my mind -- when I truly decided that I was going to accept my alopecia. I remember standing at my door with one hand on the knob, terrified to walk out without my wig on. Then I held my breath and exited anyway. That day freedom washed over me the same way it must have when my husband relaxed and embraced the incomparable experience of being enveloped by water. All the things that I thought I could no longer do, I saw before me.
I also remember the first time I went swimming without my wig, rode a roller coaster without worrying that it was going to fly off, didn't cringe when someone hugged me because I was afraid that my hair was going to shift or get caught in a ring or watch, and stopped worrying about having to tell a mate about my alopecia. A lot of times I forget that feeling of utter freedom, but watching my husband's progress and listening to his excitement reminded me.
Whatever that freedom is to you, find it. Find a way back to doing all the things you love and expanding yourself to try some new things. It may not be easy, but it may very well be worth the courage.
Meet you in the deep end! <3