Shaking, smashing, slamming…
The alarm clock is ringing. The phone is ringing. Postman is ringing the doorbell. My neighbour is honking on the parking lot. Bus driver is honking too. Somebody is playing music on TV, radio. The engine is humming. Humming… Everything and everyone is constantly ringing, playing, humming during the day… However, when it starts ringing, humming, honking, playing in your ear… it’s time to run away. Run away into the silence.
Where? How? There are actually many silent corners. To start with, trying switching off your phone, TV, computer and it becomes better almost instantly – it’s silent. That’s why, in this whole mess of different sounds, where someone or something is “shaking, smashing, slamming”, I choose to run away into my silent world under the water. When I am swimming in silence and depth of the swimming pool, I stop and start feeling somehow alone. I only have myself and my thoughts with me at that very moment.
When I was a kid and was able to swim every day, I used that silence as a perfect chance to sing. As a teenager, I liked to repeat my biology and geography lessons in those moments. Today, this silence is my place of relaxation. Sometimes I don’t even think about anything. The other times I reflect on my childhood. I like doing that in order to preserve those memories and never let them fade. Every now and then it happens also that I feel the need to scream as much as I can. It’s quite funny, because there is no noise and it’s very enjoyable.
Every swimmer, both the professional and the amateur, spends on average between an hour and two swimming, being on his/her own, in silence, reflecting on various things. In those hard moments during your training you start encouraging yourself in silence. Believe me, it’s not easy at all. Although, it’s not any different in our real lives. Those peace and silence helped so many times to cheer me up and empower myself, in the moments when my father was ill and fighting for his life, when my wife was in labour twice and I was far away, feeling helpless, expecting the news about the babies. When I was a student, and had a huge number of exams, I used to spend my swimming hours repeating the full anatomy of a human body, of my own one, naming all the little bones, muscles and connections, that helped it move through the water. It sounds crazy but I got an A, “I won”, got rid of my stress, I learned, I matured.
Swimming relaxes both one’s body and soul, that’s why it is my sanctuary of peace and silence.
On the other hand, since I became a dad, I have had a different sound in my head, the one that makes me ask myself in that silence: have I done a good job with this or that, have I spent enough quality time with my children, have I reacted right when the two of them got into a fight… Will I be able to finish everything I start? And of course, that little voice in our heads asking whether we have forgotten something!
Do I do this or that? I know, there are endless questions, as well as endless answers. That’s why, in those moments when something or someone is constantly “shaking, smashing, slamming”, or ringing, humming, playing, we need to have our own corner for peace and silence, to escape all that noise. Even if it means switching off your phone for half an hour every day.
To be honest though, after the conversation “with myself” deep down in the swimming pool, I love hearing that little voice from the edge of the pool that breaks this peace and silence.
The voice that says: Daddy!