As a kid on a summer swim team, I never wanted to be in the final relay. That was the last event of the night, after the sun had slipped past the horizon. My coach would push me onto the dock, where I would gaze down at the murky green water, trying to psych myself up for the race.
But as soon as the starting gun sounded, I would dive in, and by the time I kick-kick-stroked to the surface, I wasn't thinking about the cold anymore. And that's why I loved swimming. Once I began moving, everything in the outside world stopped mattering.
When my mom passed away unexpectedly from lymphoma when I was 28, it felt like the dive but without the surfacing.
Growing up, the water had been my refuge. In my turbulent adolescence, my mom had even made a rule: I couldn't complain about school or friend stuff until after swim practice. Normally, a hard two-hour workout of swim drills would beRead More »from Below the Surface: How Surfing Helped Me Balance My Emotions