Finally, it was one of those perfect summer days. Warm with a slight breeze and bright, bright blue sky.
And aptly, a swim in Lake Erie with the Buffalo Triathlon Club.
It was my first time in the water with the group this season and probably close to 40 people were in and out of the water.
I found numerous friends to swim with, or chat with once we reached the end of the 300-meter wall. And the entire time I couldn't help but remember these swims from last year. Even on a perfect day like this, I would have been scared. I would have spent the majority of my time bobbing up and down and constantly pulling up. But more often than not, it seemed like we swam on days when the wind was high and the lake was, well, bumpy. The chop would frighten me and my progress was slow but friends were there to make sure I swam, even if it was only 25 meters at a time.
This day, I was gliding along, swimming the length of the wall continuously. Was I fast? Heck no! But this is where we learn what at true gift perspective is. Because I didn't care that I still can't keep up with my friend Jenny or that my other friend Jen was in and out with her workout before I even noticed she was in the water.
While floating across the water I was able to suspend our human nature to compare ourselves to others and merely enjoy the improvement I had made.
All those fears and tears when crashing against the waves last year? Those served to make me stronger and more confident.
And as perfect a day as it was, the lake wasn't completely calm. At times there were some gentle rolling waves. I remember the advice my friend Colleen gave me about swimming in open water -- to play with the waves, not punch against them.
Because waves will come, at times when you don't expect them and usually when you don't really have the inclination to deal with them. Fighting through them is an option. It will eventually get you to the end of the swim, though you will likely be exhausted.
Or you can ride them. Take the wave as it comes. Feel your body rise with the water or playfully duck down and slip under the surge. Approach the waves and the water with a smile.
The ending point is the same either way, but you get to choose wether the journey is a struggle or an enjoyment. You always get to choose your approach. And if the one you've chosen isn't working for you, the good news is you get to choose again.