Have you ever wanted to write a book?

Have you ever wanted to write a book? I have.

I’ve thought about writing one…well a few, really…for years.

At one point I thought I’d write an autobiography, but then I realized that aside from a pretty crazy child/young adult hood, my life is pretty lame. I mean, who wants to read about how I only wash my hair twice a week, or how often I wash my sheets and curse every time I put the duvet back on?

Because that’s how exciting it gets right now.

Except for my swimming lessons. OMG, did I not tell you about those?

Yes, something clicked in me last March when I turned 40. It spurred a new fearlessness that is really exciting and pushing my edges, I call it, “Fuck it, I’m 40” (FII40 for short).

So aaaaaall those things that have previously held me back, intimidated me, or I was too scared to do, I’m doing them now, and swimming lessons were one of them.

When swimming levels were colours, I almost made it to life guarding but then I had a traumatic event during a skills test. We were supposed to tread water for 5 minutes with clothes on, so I thought I’d outsmart the exercise and wear the lightest clothes I had, which was a sky-blue Adidas wind suit with white stripes along the sides. My grandma had sent it from Finland, and I was sure I was going to crush this test while everyone else struggled. I was so smug.

Except that’s not what happened.

The wind suit acted like a plastic bag filling with water and started sucking me under. The more I kicked the more it pulled me down. I panicked and looked for the wall to find safety, but the more I swam the more I went down.

Nobody noticed, not even my instructor.

Eventually I made it to the wall and clawed myself up the wall to get above the surface (I may have only been a few feet under water but I might as well have been at the bottom for how scared I was), and burst into tears from the fear and relief of making it out alive.

After that, even though I was a strong swimmer, I lost all confidence and have avoided the water or at least water deeper than my chest ever since.

Then came FII40, and something in me changed. I decided to refuse to be pushed around by old outdated fears from 30 years ago. I’m going to spend the next half of my life more alive, more awake, and more fully than before.

So, I’m taking adult swimming lessons with my neighbor who also struggles with confidence in water and we are getting stronger every week together.

Maybe that’s interesting enough to be a book, but I doubt it. I’ll keep working at it and let you know what I come up with.

Have you ever wanted to write a book? What would you write about?

Oh, and if you have a better acronym or suggestion for FII40, let me know! I’m way better at napping than naming things.

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