Chapter 6 – Nik’s swim

Nik dove into the pool. The cool, clear water felt like it was cleansing cobwebs off her body and mind. Throughout her twenties she had visited the university’s pool most mornings, a moving meditation to begin the day that had made her feel balanced and strong.

She would have more time for that again, now.

The talk with Takao had been clearing, and Nik felt grateful and supported, but the prospect of letting go of all the responsibilities she defined herself through, was unsettling. She began swimming laps and felt her muscles work hard, harder than she was used to. How much she had neglected herself! The last couple of years had been full of imbalance. Another exhausting failed relationship, extra-project-work, extra-clients. Why had she not sought more sporty activities? She was a youth counsellor and life coach after all, she knew the connection between physical activity and well-being better than most.

But she also knew how easy it was to lose good habits, and how hard to break out of the bad ones. And just because she was good at helping others didn’t mean that she was good at helping herself. Nik turned for another lap, the water feeling soft, light, refreshing, on her face and body.

Takao was right of course, their work was not just work, it was more like a calling. Dealing with people problems was her speciality. And that was why she worked so much. She thought of Leila as well, her favourite, more like a daughter, niece, or younger sister to her. But Leila would be okay, she was probably going to move out to Samasta soon, and they could stay in touch, there would be other counsellors to guide her.

Another lap.

But, yes, she admitted it now, at least to herself. She had been trying to find inner peace and contentment through her work. Outside of herself. She should have taken her holidays like any normal person did, practising detachment from her achievements, her work, and the role she had created for herself. She really should have looked after herself properly.

Nik turned for another lap.

Taking holidays was important, the whole system wouldn’t work if everybody just kept working and never made room for others. You are so selfish, she chided herself, and now look at yourself, getting fat, old, and miserable. She remembered how she had not fit into her favourite skinny pants. How will you ever find a good man to love you and have a family with?

She stewed in misery for the rest of the lap, swallowed some water from breathing too hastily, and had to paddle to the edge coughing and catching her breath. While gathering herself, she resolved to turn that train of thought into its opposite.

She swam again.

So what, she had let herself go a bit. Exploring the extremes was a vital part of finding the middle. The history of humanity itself was the best proof for that. She should be celebrating, she would be on holidays for at least three months, her hard work culminating in a segment of time that was reserved just for herself, to do more exploring, do things she had always wanted to do or had put off, or didn’t have time to finish. And here she was moping about.

She turned again.

Manifest good things, take better care of yourself, stay in the moment. And don’t worry about the future too much now. It’s all going to turn out okay, one way or another. Just swim, for now.

Nik was gliding through the water, feeling the flow, fluid movements with every stroke, ignoring her muscles that were really beginning to protest.

And then, out of her relaxing conscience popped the perfect idea for her upcoming weekend.