The Valuable Lesson I Learned About Myself When I Was Six Years Old
By Nick P.
So many years ago, when I was six years old, I was fortunate enough to attend a daycare facility near my home. Unlike most facilities today, this one had a pool and it was summertime.
Unlike most facilities today, this one had a pool and it was summertime.
My mom sent me and my younger brother to this place, and we were having a good time. We had a lot of playtime early in the day, then took a short nap (probably for the people working there more than for ourselves).
Afterward, we all got our swim trunks on and went out to enjoy the pool for about an hour.
Yes, it was summertime.
Yes, it was hot.
No, we didn’t care.
We got to play in a pool!
I spent a good portion of the time in the shallow end of the pool, and learning a bit on how to swim. I didn’t really know how to swim at all, but thought I knew enough.
So I decided to see what it was like to jump off the diving board into 8 feet of water.
I remember jumping off that diving board as if it were yesterday.
And sank like a stone.
After all, there was much more water than what I experienced at the 2 foot shallow end.
And yet, somehow, I thought I could handle it.
No, I couldn’t.
I was, quite literally, way in over my head.
So I did what any 6 year old in that situation would do.
I flailed about and then tried to breathe.
And took in a lungful of water and panicked even more.
I don’t really remember too much after that, except for suddenly seeing light, and having my back slapped. REALLY. HARD.
Water came out of my mouth, and then I took in a deep breath.
But to be honest, I had no idea that someone had jumped in and saved my life.
I was drowning, and if it hadn’t been for that one person who jumped in, and knew what to do, I might’ve died that day in that pool.
I’m truly grateful for that person.
I wound up going to the hospital that night afterward, not from the daycare facility, but from home. My temperature climbed sharply, and I felt rather poorly.
Turns out, I would spend two weeks in the hospital to recover from acute pneumonia. That’s what happens when you gulp in a lung full of water because you panicked.
I recovered and went home.
But for years, I had a very healthy fear of water, and did not want to go swimming in anything that I could not stand up in. I didn’t share this fear with anyone, because I was so petrified of water.
Yet I also learned how to recover from that as well.
Yet it’s so strange, that as I look at things I have done throughout my life, that I can point to the actions of that summer day, so many years ago.
You see, what I do now in most cases when I decide to do something, is that I jump in, off the diving board, into 8 feet of water.
Even in those moments where I don’t know how to swim.
I seem to think that somehow, I will be okay. That I will either learn how to swim in that moment, or that something or someone will pull me out of the situation.
And somehow, that’s exactly what happens. I find that I can swim in those moments, if I just relax and do not panic.
It wasn’t the actual jump into the water that caused the problem for me. It wasn’t even the fact that I didn’t know how to swim that was the problem.
The problem was that I panicked.
I freaked out and didn’t allow myself to find a solution to the problem.
And that is what stops us from being able to move forward.
Freaking out, panicking, giving up, all those things are what cause the problems and make us drown in life.
Most of us are fortunate in that we have someone pull us out of those situations, and give us CPR to bring us back to life.
But not always.
But yet as I have found, if we are immersed deep in the water, and we are surrounded on all sides, and we do not panic, we get out of the situation.
It’s a matter of trusting our intuition, and also trusting that everything is going to be okay.
I didn’t know that at 6 years old.
I certainly do know it now.
It’s interesting ever since that day, I do not panic in critical situations.
I focus on solutions.
As should we all.
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