In the teenage years my parents were quite insistent that I joined clubs, in an attempt keep me out of mischief.
My hobby, then my passion, then my nemesis was swimming. At its peak I was chlorine coated about 9 times per week.
Such a commitment to a sport taught me many things. Today, the most pertinent of these things is the curse of the third length.
When I started swimming competitively, most of the pools I raced in were 25 meters. The distance I excelled in was 100 metres.
Length 1 was easy. Fresh legs propelled you to the end dolphin like. Length 2, not too bad: we must have had the heart and lungs of greek gods so, even while the legs might have been quivering a little, we had the inner strength required to power us ever onward. As for length 4? The exhilaration of being nearly finished, and that final surge of adrenaline got you through that.
Length 3 was a different sensation entirely. Limbs ached so the strokes faltered. Lungs screamed for oxygen which, in a cruel twist, made breathing more cumbersome. The mind that was to preside over this matter found itself unable to focus. At its best you’d lose concentration, at its worse you’d notice how well all your competitors were doing, and talk yourself out of being able to keep up.
The trick was to keep that focus during length 3.
Alas, during the 3rd week, or length, of NaNoWriMo, I have ignored these learnings.
To be fair, Monday flowed by pretty smoothly. The list of experiences we need to navigate our children through was cathartic to write. It was also one of the most useful posts in terms of generating ideas for my future cogitations.
On Tuesday this ‘How To Be a Parent’ muse of mine hit its first wall. The post on the dilemma I faced was hard to write and, to my mind, not particularly enticing to read. However, it received some of the most thoughtful and insightful comments. Those comments alone should have been sufficient to propel me forward another few days.
Then came Wednesday.
On Wednesday I got blissfully distracted by excellent company and reasonable wine. The less said the better. It is a small blessing that I managed to refrain from saying very much at all!
Thursday I wrote a nearly very good post. Something about it, though, did not hit the mark. It’s about how parents, (and family, and friends, and carers) are the roots of this society, not leaves to be blown around in the wind at will. Give it a read if you get chance, and let me know what I could do to improve the quality of the writing.
To be honest, what I’d fully appreciated by Friday is that NaNoWriMo is not a competition in the traditional sense. However, all those years of swimming make it hard for me to be anything other than competitive with myself.
It was a lovely respite to put the blog on the back burner for a while. Now, with just a few days left to go, I feel much more relaxed about where this journey might take me.
As I relax, I focus more, and feel more confident about what I am doing here. Perhaps this is an important lesson to impart: to swimmers, bloggers, and parents alike.