Welcome to the second part in my series of doing 12 smallish fun things to celebrate my 31st year. This one is a little different for a couple reasons: 1. I started doing this before my birthday 2. It’s something I did all summer as opposed to a discrete event.
I have always loved being in the water, pools, lakes, the ocean, doesn’t matter. Legend has it, it was quite warm the summer I was born, so my family would go in the kiddie pool every night. I’m assuming I was held in a safe manner as I was literally a new born at this point.
As summers went on we continued to enjoy the kiddie pool in the backyard. We also had a swing set (because my backyard as a child was > your backyard as a child (unless you are my sister, then my backyard as a child = your backyard as a child )) and my Dad would put the pool under the slide, throw the hose on the top of slide and boom! Water slide! My Dad would also throw a bunch of pennies in the pool and have us collect them competitively and then return them to him. This is more fun than it sounds!
Outside of our pool, I spent part of my summers as a small child at a Boy Scout camp as my Dad ( who is apparently the MVP of this post, which makes sense as the man was such a lifeguard he professionally trained lifeguards) worked there. There, we could swim every day in a pool and sometimes we even got to swim in the lake! I quickly earned my full swimmer buddy tag and was able to use the deep end!!
When I got too old for the kiddie pool in the incredible back yard, my next door neighbors, who had a daughter a few years younger than me, invested in larger kiddie pools until they eventually got 4 foot deep above ground pool. Aka a preteens dream! Since I was good friends with the daughter, I used the pool all the time! I remember swimming multiple times a day, screaming underwater (which often, unfortunately, started above water), and my hair turning a little green.
Sadly, they moved, not far though, we literally got together a few weeks ago. Luckily for my swimming, there was the youth swim at the park district pool, which I could easily walk to. You had to wear a bathing cap, but the cloth ones are less uncomfortable, so I persevered. They had a diving board and you just had to swim the length of the pool once (easy peasy since I had earned swimmers buddy tags forever ago) and they’d let you in the deep end and use the diving board!
In high school, my parents took us to the Wisconsin Dells aka the Water Park Capital of the World (‘Merica!). We stayed at the Kalahari, which at the time had the worlds largest indoor/outdoor water park. Not to be confused with the worlds largest water park or the worlds largest indoor water park (Again ‘Merica!). We’d go for a long weekend and spend a few hours every day enjoying complimentary access to the water park featuring the worlds only (at least at the time) indoor/ outdoor water rollercoaster among other slides! My sister and I would try all the slides while my parents floated in the lazy river.
Then I got older, summer jobs turned to real jobs, and I honestly haven’t spent a ton of time in the water for close to half my life. I changed that this summer. My local park district had a water aerobics class called HIIT the Water! (FYI HIIT means high intensity interval training so great word play!) Two nights I week, I was able to do many of the things I love in a pool, whilst watching the sunset, in the name of fitness! Things like jumping and running in one direction to move the current and then switching directions. The class only ran for 2 months as it is an outdoor pool. I had initially signed up for only 1 month, and, were it not for a change in my employment, I would not have been able to do the second. Luckily things changed I was able to do the whole summer. It was wonderful! It was like returning to a piece of myself I hadn’t realized I lost long ago.