Later that summer, after camp, I went to the public swimming pool with my brothers. As usual, I took my place on the pool deck and refused to get anywhere near the water. In the pool, there were some older kids throwing a ball around. During their game, the ball was errantly thrown on the pool deck and rolled towards me. I picked it up amid chants of ,"Throw it to me." Since so many kids were requesting the ball, I really didn't know who to throw it to so I just tossed it back into the water. Unfortunately, I apparently threw it to the wrong person. One of the older kids got out of the water, came over to me and said, "I told you to throw the ball to me," and before I could even defend myself, he picked me up and tossed me in the pool. I didn't know what to do as my body splashed into the water. I couldn't react. It didn't occur to me that I was basically in shallow water and all I would have to do is try to stand. So I just floated underwater for a few seconds, not knowing what to do. Then in a rush, I was brought back to the surface and carried to the pool deck by the boy that had thrown me in. He apologized. "I didn't know you couldn't swim", he said, and went back to his games.
At that point, I got so angry with myself that I almost started to cry. I promised myself then that I would learn how to swim. But before I could learn to swim, I had to get over my fear of the water. And I started that day by stepping into the water for the first time. From then on, I taught myself how to float, then gradually how to swim. In fact, I became such a good swimmer, that I became a lifeguard.
We cannot allow fear to control our lives. It can make us stand against the wall when we want to go ask someone to dance. It can hold us back when we want our views to be known. It can keep us from traveling and enjoying the world. It can keep us from reaching our full potential. I have known some people that were fearless. Nothing bothered them and they would try anything. I'm not want of those people. While I will try different things, I sometimes approach many things with far more caution. In fact, there are just some things that I am too scared to try. So, I consider myself a work in progress. But you cannot allow fear to control every aspect of your life. If you do, then you will live your life reclusive. I don't think we should live our lives recklessly, but I do believe that taking risks, here and there, can be good and lead to a rewarding life.
So come on, jump on in. The water feels great.