I stood at the local swimming pool last week. Scanning the bobbing faces to keep an eye on my kids. “Be careful” I yelled “stay where I can see you!”
I fear making mistakes when it comes to my children, a slip in judgement could change the course of mine and their life. The thing is, when I think back to swimming at my local pool as a kid the idea of being careful isn’t part of my memories. I remember the two 20 cent coins I had to feed into the turnstile to allow me in, the shade at the entrance that always failed to prepare me for the glare once I stepped out into the open. My mum lying on her stomach, bikini clad, zinc on her lips, up on the grassy patch between the olympic and diving pool. Her face keeping an eye on us as we did handstand competitions and under water races. Lunch time was always a sausage roll for me, a strip of tomato sauce lined across its belly and my sister, a meat pie. A cola Icee from that machine where the cup rotated on its axis churning the chemical mess below. I don’t remember anyone keeping an eye on me, or perhaps thats the lens we have as kids. Oblivious to the watching, the supervising, the stomach-in-mouth moments when your child seems to be under the water for an eternity.
Earlier this month I created a vision board for next year. Ive eye-rolled at them spectacularly for years. It seemed like craft therapy, pfft who needs that? Im a mental health professional! I spent the afternoon putting mine together – this year has been slim on the magazine reading so I collected my images from the internet. Without much thought I just typed in words into the search bar as they popped into my head – what I ended up with took me by surprise. They all pointed to the outside – no ideas of weight loss, of being at peace with myself, of exercise other than gentle meanderings at my favourite walking track in Sydney. It showed me that Im bored trying to understand me that I want to get back out there and do stuff…
Ive spent a lot of time thinking Ive been doing something wrong but on reflection the sensation was fear – working alone, with only my thoughts to buffer the silence, hasn’t been good for me. I haven’t taken any risks, I haven’t been out in the big wide world meeting people, chatting with them and as a result my perception of the world shifted. The same night I finished the vision board I watched Stella Young’s memorial. A joyous poignant event that lit a spark in me, it reminded me of the potential to work alongside amazing, creative people. To listen to their voices, to drink in their smartness, to be a part of it, rather than writing about it. The reminder to practice, until you get proud.
So for me, with the help of my vision board, my support team and my realisation that even when I reach my goals there are still other more fun mountains to climb Im stepping away from the ‘what if’ and replacing it with ‘I can handle that’. A friend told me that the trick for moving from fear to confidence is to take action – to take small steps and then stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone.
Im working on not yelling out ‘be careful’ these summer holidays, ‘have fun’ might be a start or ‘enjoy yourself’ but deep down Ill know that I really want to say ‘don’t learn to fear…there is plenty of time for that.’
Happy new year my lovely friends – Im spending tonight with my family working on our ridiculous book of resolutions. Tell me what 2015 is going to bring for you?