Sunday, November 06, 2016

Out of My Comfort Zone and Into the Swimming Pool

This past week, we observed Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan, the beginning of the second month on the Jewish calendar. Each year on this date I tend to reflect. This is possibly due to the fact that it's my beloved grandfather's yahrzeit (anniversary of death according to the Hebrew date) or that it's an opportune time for me to take stock of my life since, as a rabbi, I was too busy for much contemplation on Rosh Hashanah while leading services.

Last Rosh Hashanah, I resolved to try something new. I did, but it wasn't easy. I've always maintained that it's important to take on a new hobby or learn a new skill each year. In some years this has been an easy endeavor, like watching a YouTube video to learn to juggle, pledging to go to the gym more often, reading more with my kids or taking up golf. This past year, I wanted to accomplish something bigger. I wanted to really take a risk and really go out of my comfort zone.

A few months ago, I did just that. I've never been a strong swimmer. As a kid, I was never afraid of the water and was an eager participant when it came time to swim at summer camps. However, I never really learned the proper technique of swimming.

SafeSplash Swim School

A few months ago, a representative of SafeSplash Swim School contacted me to see if I'd be interested in having my kids take some swim classes and then I could blog about it. Well, taking seriously the Talmudic dictum of teaching your kids to swim, I enrolled each of my kids in swim lessons from an early age and they've become pretty good swimmers. So, I quickly turned down the offer. With all the excitement of the swimming events in the Summer Olympics this past August and after losing a swim race to my younger brother this summer at our club, I contacted the woman from SafeSplash Swim School and asked if they'd allow ME to take the swim classes.

She thought it was a great idea, saying that they didn't have any bloggers writing about their adult swim classes and immediately gave me a code to enroll myself in some weekly adult swim lessons. This was a big leap for me. While I have always been able to swim, I've never done it well. The breathing, the strokes and the speed always presented challenges to me. I spent the first ten minutes of the first class explaining to the instructors why I was taking these swim classes. They told me that most adults who take swim classes do so because they never learned to swim as kids. I actually knew how to swim, just not how to do it well. They allowed me to set my own goals for each class and after the final class I really felt a great sense of accomplishment.

While I've certainly learned new things in my adult life, I've never really gone out of my element like this. It was scary diving into this, but I'm so glad I did.

The swim lessons at SafeSplash, which were all taught by very patient and skilled instructors, caused me to think about what I want to learn next. I encourage you to jump into the water as I have. Get out of your element and learn something new. It's been the most challenging, yet refreshing adventure I've undertaken in so many years and I don't regret it.

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