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On January 7th, I joined the Flushing Y so I could take swimming classes. For most people, this would be a very normal thing to do at the beginning of the year, when everyone is making their exercise and weight loss resolutions.

This was NOT a normal thing for me to do. THIS WAS HUGE. A sea change (pardon the pun).

I swam all the time as a little girl, and as a teenager. When I was growing up, we spent all our summer weekends at Jones Beach. I learned to swim in the ocean at Beach # 2 and at Zach’s Bay. I loved the water.

I stopped going to the beach as I started putting on weight. The years of keeping a freelancer’s schedule pretty much destroyed my circadian rhythms, which I now know is a contributing factor in my struggles with my weight. Sleep loss, hormonal imbalances, and weight gain are very intertwined; I also happen to be a very good cook, and love to eat well.

The bottom line is I hadn’t owned a bathing suit in 35 years. I hadn’t been in a body of water bigger than a soaking tub in that long either.

So, how did I end up joining the Y, taking a Beginner’s Swim Class early Sunday mornings in January and February, wearing a bright lipstick red swimdress?

I recognized the absolute need to disrupt my thought process and attitude about my body, about exercise, and about the rest of my life. I needed to do something that was wildly different. I needed a reboot.

I thought I’d like it; I didn’t know I’d LOVE it. I joined the Y so that quitting would be an expensive failure. I needed to invest more than cost of the class to make this work the way I wanted it to. It was quitting insurance– I paid for a yearly membership to ensure I would go.

So far, so good; I’ve been going three days a week, once for my lesson, and twice for open swim in the big pool. There is nothing so relaxing as floating, silently, letting the water carry me.

This week, I feel confident enough to go into the deep end. I am amazed that swimming has come back so easily. I have no fear of the water at all; when I go into the pool I feel embraced by the water, as though it has missed me. I have no weight at all in the water; I glide, I float, I paddle, I bob, I stretch my arms and kick my legs and move faster than I ever thought I would.

It is magic. Swimming doesn’t just make me happy; it gives me joy, and connects me with the child I still am deep inside. It’s not just exercise, but an almost mystical experience. I enter the pool, and the universe enters me.