As a swim coach, I live it. As a mother, I push it. As a person, I crave it.
Not because I love to drink it, though. In fact, I have to force myself sometimes and usually fall way short. So short that I’m hopping around at three in the morning with a knot in my calf so big that my toes curl and distort at least three days a week. Last night was just one of those nights.
Too much wine, too much caffeine. Not enough water.
About nine years ago we moved into our current neighborhood and my kids joined the summer swim team. Catching “the bug,” I searched around for a way for them to swim all the time because when I grew up, (here in this same town, mind you) there were no high school swim teams and no USA teams nearby that I or my parents knew about. I would always go to the aquatic center to swim for whatever it was worth. I had no idea what I was doing, but knew that the water soothed me, calmed me.
I firmly believe that.
Many of us seek the water in some shape or form to restore us. The beach and ocean. The lake … the bathtub. The silky feel, the weightless fluidity. It is an ethereal thing, like the water nymphs of our imaginations that we conjure. Somehow everything is better in the water. Sounds are muffled, realities are distorted and become less sharp. The hard truths of our lives are softened when looked at through the undulations of the waves.
If only for a few moments, whether the middle of the night because my brain is racing, in the middle of a fever or cold because I ache, or when my emotions need corralling because something bad has happened and my heart hurts, water makes everything better. It is my muse, my balm, my go-to cure-all and I seek it any and all times of the day.
Of course our realities don’t really change; the annoying monkey is always there, ever present and waiting to jump back on our shoulders: kids, schedules, mortgages, dinner. These things will never go away and finding ways to cope with the stresses is essential. Its what we do. I’ve found though, that after an hour or two in the pool, or twenty minutes in the shower or tub, I’m better able to deal. My center is calm. My limbs are tired. My brain is quiet.
I love it when my brain goes quiet.
What makes your brain quiet?