I walked around the house in a wetsuit last night. The wetsuit is my latest
purchase effort to welcome winter. Or at least to welcome fall. This insulated body suit will extend the paddleboarding season into November, and will allow me to get on the water again as early as March. Well, maybe April.
I got the text that my delivery had arrived while I was still at work, and as soon as I logged off for the day, I ran upstairs from my office, cut open the box, and tugged the suit on. It’s so much nicer than the wetsuits I remember from SCUBA diving years ago. It’s supple. I don’t know if it’s so soft and wonderful because it’s a surfing wetsuit or because wetsuit design has come a long way in 30 years. Probably both. But boy does the smell take me back. This neoprene smells fresh, if there is such a thing, but it still reminds me of dive vans full of stinking wet neoprene and of damp motel rooms with dripping window unit air conditioners. It reminds me of suiting up as a teenager, pulling on cold clammy wetsuits to go diving in places I’m surprised now didn’t frighten me more, 70 feet down to poke around on shipwrecks 10 miles offshore the coast of Georgia, where the dive boat pitched and rolled over the ocean swells. Where above water, distance from shore meant we couldn’t see land, and below water, murky visibility meant we couldn’t see the bottom from the surface.
This wetsuit won’t see such adventures. It will see a fresh mountain lake when its waters are serene, in October and November, when the surface is glassy and empty of boat wakes, the air is quiet of the whine of outboard motors, and the mountains rise above the mirror, dressed in red and gold leaves.
Maybe one day my new wetsuit will see waves, too, but for now I’m trying to focus on my current life instead of dreaming only for the future.
I swam laps yesterday for the third time in recent weeks. With this third swim, I decided to reinstate my aquatic center membership.
I walked around in a wetsuit last night. I swam laps. Became a member at the pool again. I bought a new turquoise swimsuit and new running tights. I rearranged my office and bought art.
Exercising, running, and working from my home office: these are not new pursuits for me. The newest of them is working from home, and that’s seven years old now. The pandemic pounded in their repetition and monotony, and they’ve become worn and tired. Pilled like a favorite but overwashed sweater.
This past year pushed me over the edge of just how tired they had all become. I can’t take another winter of Jillian Michaels workouts in my basement: the same basement where my home office is, 10 steps away. Sleep, exercise, work, eat, read, live. All within the same walls, with little escape outdoors when winter sets in. Even before summer ended, I found myself avoiding my office because I didn’t enjoy being in it. Which meant I sat in saggy chairs to work, which made my shoulders and back hurt.
So I decided to freshen things up. Instead of daydreaming of escape, which usually just makes me discontent, I’m making small changes in my current life to make the things I enjoy new again. I’ve got new running clothes laid out for tomorrow, I’ve got a lap lane reserved for Friday. I bought a desk that’s small enough to configure my office in more than one way, and that liberated me from the dark corner I was in; I now face a window that looks out to the garden instead. These changes get me excited to run, to leave my house to swim, to spend my workday in my office. With my new wetsuit, I’m even eager for cooler weather so I can paddle on the lake during a time of year I’ve not yet experienced it.