Flipping the switch

I haven’t written in a while, sometimes the topic to write about comes quick and easy and sometimes there is just nothing there. In recent months I just haven’t felt like writing or that I had anything worth saying.

I also fear falling into repetition. I talk about my swims, some months up, some months down, no real change. To call it out, might call out my neurosis or my boringness or my ego in trying to think anyone is interested.

I like to tell myself I like change and the things I do are interesting; I have a work role that involves dealing with issues across 6 locations in 6 countries, all on different time zones and therefore my hours can be irregular and my role irregular. But reality is I like the consistency of how I structure my life around this, I get moody when it gets disturbed.

Yes, It’s a far cry from my first corporate role 17 years ago and processing invoices. Though looking back, there is something to be said for the simplicity of processing invoices.

The last few months of 2019 were interesting, as ever I continued to work out, but not necessarily in water. I think this leads to losing structure not only in my swimming but also my moods.

I find myself more neurotic, moodier, thinking into things too much. Work changes were coming in my office and I am senior enough that I know some of it, but I specifically don’t like not knowing things. I don’t like when People have identified a plan, told me part of the plan, but they haven’t validated all the pieces, in fact they are missing the detail, but they charge on anyway. This makes me anxious in my work life which spreads to my mood. Swimming can help this mood if I am in the right frame of mind to swim.

I compare the not knowing a plan approach, to my preferred approach to my swimming, and it puts things in contrast.

I love the concept of “no surprises”. I used to direct the people that reported to me, that the key single most important Direction I would ever give them was “no surprises”….”don’t ever let me walk in a room, when you know something and someone else knows something, but I don’t, don’t let me get caught that way. I don’t care if you fuck up,We all make mistakes; we can fix mistakes but don’t let me walk in not knowing”. I think I approach my swimming the same way.

I over swim, I over train, I over prepare food, I over think. I visualize finishing and how it will feel, I visualize failing and I know how it will feel (it will suck, in case you are wondering) but it won’t be a surprise. I hate surprises.

However having a plan and thinking out possibilities Puts my brain at ease and gets rid of the knots in my stomach.

In other ways I also find my brain, weird and confusing, there are times when the concept of getting in water and swimming just fails me. I can get in and the 1000m sets I do 9 months a year, make me want to cry for 3 months a year and then on a random day It all flips, the 1000’s become nothing and when I hit the set its like, lets just do a little more. I honestly can’t explain it, it’s like a switch changed direction. I can’t tell you when, I can’t tell you why, it just changes.

So, Sept to Dec 2019, I swam a grand total of 87,320 meters, Jan-Feb 26th 20, 174,200 meters. I can’t explain the difference, I just know my mental attention changed. This has a knock-on effect; in that I also find myself a little calmer in other areas of my life. The other unsure elements going on in life become easier to deal with.

I realize some of this is rambling and not necessarily a coherent discussion. I think the connecting dot in the above is my mental health. I worry about that on a regular enough basis. Growing up with a bi-polar mom, does sometimes make you a little Concerned for your own mental health when things seem to deviate from your norms, is it me or is it everyone else. Sometimes I know, sometimes I don’t but I know my brain functions better when I do more swimming.

On a completely different topic that I haven’t talked about. I swam on Dec 26th…in Lake Michigan.

It was an absurdly unexpected warm Dec Day in the Chicago area. The air temp was in the 50f range and the water temp was in the mid 30s.

It wasn’t a long swim but I have now swum in Lake Michigan in Dec and at the time, it was exactly what I needed.Thanks to Robin for doing safety for me again.

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