Why Do I Swim?#

Monday, 2024-05-27:

In my 20s people used to ask me a strange question. “Why do you write?” In my naivete, I’d offer some pretentious answer about finding the meaning to my existence through the written medium. In retrospect, I was just trying to escape my reality through writing fiction. It must be why I can no longer enjoy reading or writing fiction as much as I used to.

Lately, I’ve been wondering why do I swim? It’s been a year since I’ve learnt swimming, and I never imagined that I’d take to the water like this. I’ve been told that making this my identity is not good for me. I’ve largely remained silent when someone tells me this, or I tell them that for now, this is what I love to do.

I have another truth, and that is I want this to be my identity.

I swim not because I must or should. I want to be in the water. Call it a strange fascination with the creation myth from Hinduism, if you wish.

I’ve written before that I learnt to swim lately to see if I could. That I learnt to swim because I wanted to face the darkest fear I have in my heart.

It is that fear that constantly lingers in my head, but not in the terms that make me weak. In a strange turn of events, the fact that I have not only faced this fear but also spat in its face is what makes me love the act so much.

When I dunk myself into the deep end of a 7ft deep pool, I grin boyishly, knowing that I have achieved something that my childhood self could not imagine. Something that I not only deemed was beyond me, but also something I could not aspire towards.

I tell people that I want to master swimming. It would seem like I already have if you’re not a good swimmer yourself. I still swim near a wall, not because I can’t tread water and stay afloat, but because I have some apprehension towards going away from it. I still can’t do 100m laps without stoppping at the 50m point, mostly because I barely have the endurance for 50m on a good day. And I still can only manage about 750m on a good day overall.

My definition of mastering swimming is 2KM. I want to swim 2KM in an hour. That’s a very lofty goal. That means I’d need to do 100m in 20s, each time. The odd thing is, I _can_ maintain this pace. It’s just that I can’t maintain it for a long enough stretch.

But why does that matter to me? I’ve already conquered my fear. I grow less scared of stepped wells and tanks every single day. What am I trying to prove?

Nothing. Do I need a reason to swim? If you want me to tell you that I somehow want to swim from Cuba to Florida, you’re mistaken (for now). I do want to swim in an ocean, and in open waters, but for now, this is what I want to do.

So, why do I swim? Because I want to.