I came awake this morning and mentally organized my day while still laying upon my comfortable bed. The slats in the bedroom window shades had somehow shifted and I woke with a thin stream of sunlight on my face.
I realized several things at the same time. First is that my waking feels more normal now that my Ambien dose is down to a quarter pill a night. I am almost done weaning from my addiction to this medication, and it is going well. I still wake about twenty times each night surfacing from unusual dreams, but I now know I will feel better after having completed this change.
The second thing I realized is the long list of errands and work I need to accomplish this day. I have bills to pay, shopping to sadly attend to, writing to sit in front of (while I pretend to be a creative and productive person) and my closet to clean. I already know I will never clean the closet, but I like to pretend that will happen someday soon, so I keep mentally listing it as one of the day’s occupations.
While I am still lying down and tentatively stretching before letting my feet hit the floor I think about Ben Lecomte.
You don’t know about Ben Lecomte?
He is in the Pacific Ocean right now.
He is stroking strongly through the cold water. Reaching, twisting and kicking his way forward for eight hours each day among wind, swells of water, rain, sharks and jellyfish. He is trailed by his team on the support sailing yacht “Discoverer”. He is not alone out there in the Pacific, but he is alone in the water. Each arm stroke belongs to him. Each moment consists of the commitment to continue to swim.
I have lowered my feet to the floor and straighten my bed before undertaking my day’s goals. I will write, maybe exercise and probably talk to family on the phone.
Ben Lecomte will still be in the Pacific.
He is swimming from Tokyo to San Francisco. He is attempting The Longest Swim. Throughout the day, while I am drinking coffee and deciding between a breakfast yogurt and an Eggo waffle, Ben will be swimming.
I will be petting my cat but he will be swimming.
I will be running my errands, and he will still be swimming.
But in my own way, I am swimming too. I may not be engaging in the longest swim, but each day is made up of intentions to reach goals.
Sometimes they are small goals, like my day today of doing things that must be done but can be achieved with short bursts of effort. Swimming sprints.
But we all have larger goals as well. Milestones we strive to reach over weeks, months and sometimes even years.
We jump into cold water. We work to reach our goals.
Marriage is a very long swim.
My son and the woman of his dreams are getting married next week.
This event is sometimes referred to as “taking the plunge”.
We will cheer them as they dive in, and I expect, they too will be swimming through good weather and bad, warm and cold, with hazards and challenges along the way.
I know they will reach the far shore of their trip.
Like Ben Lecomte, they will be slicing through life.
I think of Ben making progress through the Pacific Ocean. He has trained and prepared. He is brave and strong and daring in his goal.
I know my kids are as well.
We all have our own longest swim. We all must jump in before we swim.
I wish us smooth water and a strong current.
My son and his new wife are strong swimmers together. They will make it on their own.
But sometimes they may need a support sailing team as they navigate forward.
That will be all of us. Trailing them with love into their new lives.
A Very Personal Plunge