For two days in a row, I’ve gotten up at 4:45am to write three pages before heading over to the pool for my 5:30am lane assignment. When my alarm went off this morning, I was not happy about it. I regretted my life choices. I regretted committing to going through The Artist’s Way with friends, I regretted running on an injured foot to the point that now I can’t run at all, I regretted signing up for a 5:30am swim lane.
Once I was out of bed, and my teeth were brushed, and the cats were fed, I sat with my notebook and pen at the kitchen table. The fixture above the table cast a small field of warm light; otherwise I was surrounded by darkness. My pen moved across the page, probably saying something like, “I can’t believe I’m doing this, what was I thinking.” I don’t remember what I wrote. The point of the three Artist’s Way morning pages is to let stuff flow out of my brain and onto the page to clear things out. Maybe something fresh will enter into the space. Maybe not.
I felt better after writing. I didn’t regret things quite so much. Once I was in the pool, I loved my life choices. I’ve started going to the aquatic center closer to our house, the less fancy one than where our daughter swims, and I love everything about our little community pool. The floors in the locker room feel like they’re heated, though I can’t imagine they are; I think there’s just a radiator cleverly placed in the narrow area where we change so that the heat from it makes the floor warm. The pool itself isn’t a cold shock to jump into because it’s more of a recreation pool for community laps and swim lessons rather than a competition pool. And probably my favorite of all, lane signups are on a large pad of paper, actual paper, with someone behind the desk assigning lanes. They even use white-out when someone cancels. I didn’t know white-out even existed anymore. The whole process is very human compared to picking slots online, which is convenient and wonderful, don’t get me wrong. But I like saying hi in the morning, and the woman behind the desk saying hi to me, telling me which lane I’m in and who I’m sharing with, and asking me if I want to go ahead and sign up for next week, the new schedule just came out and it’s an empty slate.
The 5:30 swim lane appointment makes me do my two highest priority things before I do anything else. Yesterday was my first day doing it, and the whole rest of my day, I felt accomplished. Anything else I did on top of my 30 minutes of writing and my swim were bonus. The change in routine mixes up my whole morning, which opens me to mixing up my whole day. I’m even considering leaving the house today to work. This is not something I usually do! I also haven’t done it yet, so we’ll see if it actually happens.
That being said, the 5:30 lane appointments also prohibit me from doing other things before work that I like to do. They don’t really allow for a leisurely morning. For my other two slots this week, I’ll go at 11:30 am. I’m eager to see how busy the pool is at that time, and how it affects my work to take a break midday. It always seems to be beneficial when I take a break to run midday. My mind gets a refresh, and I often work things out when I give my body a jostle during the day. Maybe the same thing will happen with swimming.