I’ve been swimming a lot. It’s too hot to even contemplate exercise in any other form, and my left Achilles hasn’t let me run in years. Texas heat can only be compared to the Tokyo variety. So, it’s swimming. Mostly indoors at my fancy pants club cool pool, and then I move outdoors for a couple laps of soupy Vitamin D. I need to credit my friend Jill for the term Moving Meditation, which is how she refers to her runs. I now think of it as any time when I’m unplugged and moving and my brain begins to toss up ideas and answers like my subconscious has been unleashed. But, given the almost lifelong nature of my many geographical moves, there’s a connection there as well.
Lately my swims have gotten longer as I’ve gotten stronger. I’m still slow but I’m up to 40. Very recently, that number was knocking and I was backing away from it, protracting my adolescence the best I could. Now, I find myself counting laps and reliving best/worst memories from each of those years, adding up to a tidy 40 laps or 1 km. It used to take me an hour to swim that, and now it’s only taking 45 minutes.
Maybe not coincidentally, my novel in its rewrite is 40 sections/chapters long (should I even admit this, given just how much that indicates will need to be hacked out?) and I find myself rethinking each of them as I count laps, and with some magical alchemy, finding solutions to problems or simply better insights.
I am a word person, and not typically fond of numbers, but this one has a meditative, even, roundness to it that I find myself embracing. For someone as chronically and infamously untidy as me, it is odd to embrace symmetry and balance, but that’s how I’m finding forty. And it’s finding me.