We belong to a gym that has a fabulous outdoor pool with water slides, a cafe, and enough beach chairs to accommodate what seems like a million people. Last summer, when we first brought the little girls, I was so not interested in hanging out in my bathing suit at a public pool. Especially in a part of town in which many of the other women have a lot more time and/or money to either a) work out more than one hour a day, b) pay to look like they work out more than an hour per day, or c) both. Which, by the way, is not intended to be an insult. If I had the time or money I’d do both too. Anyway, the little girls were always begging to go and I would try to find a reason that my husband should take them (and I should stay home) until one day when I simply couldn’t come up with anything.
On that day, we entered the outdoor area and had to snake through the sea of chairs until we found two in a row on the opposite side of the entrance. Giving me a little extra time and a good view to see all of the beautiful people with whom we would be spending the afternoon. In front of this audience, we all shrugged out of our cover-ups, put on our sunscreen and the little girls ran off. My husband followed them and I settled into my chair.
It soon became clear that I had two choices. Staying in my chair and dying of heat or going into the water. I joined them in the water and ended up having the best time. I hadn’t spent much time at a pool growing up. I didn’t know how completely lovely it could be spending hours in the water. I spent as much time at that pool with the little girls as possible for the remainder of the summer. Every other weekend when we had the little girls we would head to the pool. I would pick them up from daycare at 4:30 and we’d speed over just to get 45 minutes in on weeknights. It became my most unexpected happy place.
For the past couple months, as Victoria’s Secret has killed off what I assume to be several rain forests just to send me swim suit catalogues twice a week, I’ve been coveting a particular suit. I knew the pool would open soon but I kept putting off my purchase in hopes it would go on sale. But then something happened.
Are you sitting down? I have alarming news. It is Memorial Day weekend! How on earth did this happen?! And why didn’t anyone tell me?! We’ve had an unusually warm spring and we’ve all been antsy to get back to the pool but it didn’t open until Memorial Day weekend. Which in my head felt like several months away. Turns out that’s not the case.
This morning as the little girls squealed and ran circles around the house with excitement, I fished out my pool suit and put it on. This brings about a second bit of alarming news. Whereas last fall when I put it away it was way too big? It is now snug. Not uncomfortable, not horrible, just snug. This dampened my enthusiasm for the trip to the pool.
We went anyway and as the girls ran off to the water slides I sat back in my chair and remembered why our pool is so heavenly. Even with screaming of children, and splashing, and music playing over the speakers, and Life Guards blowing their whistles and yelling, it. Is. Peaceful. There are no phones ringing, there are no laptops, there are no work colleagues (although my husband runs into nearly five each time we go), and there are no responsibilities other than watching the time slowly tick by. All the while the sun comes and goes and the breeze blows and you know you’ll leave a shade darker and with shoulders feeling like they are a little lighter.
Last year at this time I was so blissful about my marriage having survived and that we were doing so well. I was unsatisfied at work but it didn’t matter because for once everything in my personal life felt good. I remember just basking in the sun and in the happiness of our family.
This spring has been a little more challenging. Discovering I’m not so happy at work has been discouraging. We’ve run into some bumps for which we weren’t prepared. I’ve had several family members fall seriously ill. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy worrying about my little girls and things in their lives that we can’t control. It’s been tricky all the way around.
I found a passion I didn’t know I had in writing. I started The Year of What If. I’ve been What Iffing nearly every day since January. It has been an amazing journey that continues to grow and change and excite me. But as I leaned back in my chair this morning, under the hot sun, I realized something serious. It is June!!! Well, okay, it’s practically June. And I’ve put a lot of work into this project, and I’ve put a lot of heart and soul into the “what ifs,” and I have downright FAILED at some of them. If I had followed through on all of them and taken my own advice, my swim suit would not be snug. It wouldn’t fit because it’d be too big. How is it possible that the past six months have both crawled by like molasses, and sped by like an Indy 500 car?! What just happened here?!
And then I thought “it’s half-way to Christmas!!!” But I squashed that train of thought because I felt pretty overwhelmed with the one I was already on.
So…what if I start a project with the best of intentions and subsequently realize that I have totally dropped the ball on some of it?! This evening after our little girls were tucked into their beds, tired from a day out in the sun and playing with friends, I retired to my torn apart basement (see Perfectly. Flawed.), and I did something I haven’t done yet. I printed out my Master List of What Ifs. I think it’s time to reboot some of them. I think tomorrow is the perfect day to re-energize the promises I’ve made to myself (and all of you) these past six months. I’ve spoken about my tendency to come up with fabulous plans which I later allow to drop off? One of the points of this was to stop myself from doing that. To hold myself accountable. It’s time I get my a-s in gear, AGAIN, and really work to improve myself one what if at a time.
TODAY: What if I re-commit to some of the “what ifs” I’ve allowed to fall by the wayside? What if I make this a year to remember by really becoming the best possible version of myself? And what if simply falling off the wagon of a plan doesn’t mean complete failure…it just means you have to get back on the wagon?