Swim lesson update: So, this first lesson was so much easier than I remember swim lessons being when I was twelve. Part of the credit goes to Amanda, who is a relaxed, cheerful, and encouraging instructor. (She clapped for me every time I did something even halfway right, which was very heartening.) But I was trying to figure out what else has made the difference, and I think it comes down to two things:
a) I’m not nearly as scared of the water as I was when I tried to learn as a kid. I’ve now spent a *lot* of time in the water, going for a swim a couple times a week for months on end, and even though it was almost entirely on my back (doing what Amanda tells me is called the elementary backstroke, although I always just thought of it as flailing about ineffectively), apparently that’s enough water time that I’m just not panicky about it. It also helps that my gym pool is only four feet deep for the whole length, so I *can’t* drown in it. All of that makes lessons much calmer and more relaxing; I can focus on technique, getting my hands and arms and legs moving the right way, instead of fighting the panicked feeling of being about to die.
b) I’m much more generally fit than I was as a kid. I was a *really* sedentary child — I liked to sit in one spot and read, basically all the time. Or play video games. These days, I’ve actually gotten accustomed enough to exercise that if I don’t get some in a day (walking counts), my body gets antsy. (Unless I’m sick. Colds throw everything out of whack.) I’ve done a lot of different kinds of exercise too, in the last several years — jazz and modern dance classes, yoga, bicycling, weight-lifting, pilates, zumba. And I’m not particularly good at any of them, but just doing them semi-regularly has given me both muscles and a sense of how to use them. When Amanda tells me what I’m supposed to be doing, and I try it, I can actually *feel* when I’m doing it right, when my body is moving well. I don’t think I had that kind of kinesthetic understanding of my body as a kid.
I think all of this means I’m going to learn to swim much, much faster (and much less stressfully) than I would’ve back then.