Life’s swimming lessons

When I was younger and buzzing with energy, there was this unsaid need to keep proving that you were not mediocre. Mediocrity. I detested this word. So thrown into this swimming pool called life, I flapped my arms as hard as I could. It meant lots of hard work, late nights, and a barely existent personal life.

But life can be very cruel. She smirked at me and stealthily removed all my safety nets. Who ever imagined life guards would enjoy seeing you drown? Despite all my flapping around, I was drowning. Failure after failure came my way, and I slipped into the inky dark recesses of despair. There seemed no path of return.

Stripped of all vestiges of my dignity, when I could take it no more, I decided this was not for me. There were a hundred other things I could do, but I was best kept away from this arena which brought me only pain, distress and humiliation.

I embraced ordinariness. Turned blind to everything that I thought would bring me glory. Began to celebrate every day and poured myself into routine work, forgetting that label of mediocrity. I don’t know if it brought me joy, but everyday when I returned home after work, there was no inclination to even think about anything extraordinary. It was as if something had snapped, and I had drawn a deep demarcating line between work and home. The time after work was my own. Nothing from the workplace deserved a chunk of my attention then.

And now, when the greys have set in to my evenings, someone decides that I could be a swimmer. Someone who hasn’t even tested me. Does it come as vindication? Not at all. So much bitterness has gone through my blood, that now it hardly matters what someone thinks.

To my eyes, it is another reminder of the futility of fighting with time. When I gave up flapping my arms completely, and relaxed, life showed me that I could float calmly without doing anything extraordinary. I could swim after all!

But I do wish those dark years from my life could be erased from memory.

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