‘Don’t strain your body, let it loose’ commanded my swimming instructor.
I gasped for a breath after another failed attempt at floating in water. The sun shone brightly on the disappointed trainer’s face.
‘Try again’ he said in anguish.
Swimming is one of the life skills I did not get an opportunity to learn as a kid. Battling my phobia of water, I finally convinced myself to learn to swim. It was the third day at class and my instructor couldn’t believe how stiff my body was under water.
‘ Why are you so stiff? And why can’t you hold your breath for longer? Even a ten year old kid can do this!’ he said.
I didn’t have much to explain. I kept trying for the rest of the session.
Once I got out of the water, I started thinking about what happened during the training. I kept wondering about the comment he made about how even a ten year old kid could do what he was asking me to.
While I was a bit worked up after hearing that, over time a sense of calm dawned on me. I realised that accidentally the trainer had given me a great sermon.
We always associate progress with growing up. We always envision to be the best version of ourselves in future. But I realised that it is a partial perspective. Progress should be associated as much with growing up to maturity as with preserving the childlike elasticity of thought and action. The innate wisdom of body and mind programmed in kids is often unlearned as we age. Our body and mind grow up to an ‘acquired stiffness.’
The pursuit of true growth should be aimed in both directions, as much in ‘unlearning’ as in learning.
As a 27 year old, I aspire to have the maturity of 45 old man as I age while preserving the elasticity of being in a 10 year old boy.
That combination would make for a complete human in my opinion.
So now as I prepare myself for my next attempt at floating, I will focus on unlearning, to grow past my acquired stiffness.
In sincere pursuit of having a nimble body and mind of a ten year old boy.