How do you make 18 months away from school more interesting?
Begin with acknowledging that 18 months is an extremely long time relatively. In a marriage it possibly isn’t, in a lifetime it isn’t that long but if you end up sleeping in and surfing the web, scrolling through Facebook, those eighteen months will be painfully boring and possibly regrettable. All of those things that you always wanted to do but could not because of school.
NOW IS YOUR TIME!
You should make a list, write it in lipstick on your mirror, save it on your phone or jot it down in a planner. When the time is drawing to an end- believe me- you won’t remember many of those adventures off the top of your head. Those early mornings that you drove to the North coast are just going to become a blur, your paddle boarding experiment becomes overshadowed in your memory by the scene of a kite surfer flying through the most perfect sunset you’ve ever seen. List them out and scratch it out as you go.
At some point during the eighteen months (or Gap Year) you should challenge yourself, not necessary an ‘Iron Man’ challenge but a challenge nonetheless. It could be to wake up early everyday, to surf at sunset everyday, to master the uke or come closer to someone you know. It can be anything but it should be purposefully done so when it gets tough you have reasons to stick it out.
One of my challenges over these past eighteen months was to start swimming open water swims. I’ve been swimming as long as I can remember myself and I’ve competed, representing my schools. Open Water swimming has its own world of knowledge as one can assume and I dived into it. Two months before my first open water swim I decided that I would start so I began training at my club. I finished my first open water swim- a 3km swim- in 1hour, 26 minutes and 11 seconds.
Thinking back to that swim is still a source of motivation for me almost one year later. The funny thing was that when I saw the bright orange, triangular buoys out on the water that morning I thought, “No way this is wayyy too long, how was I supposed to finish this swim?” To make it worse, I had to run out of the water up the beach which was an extremely steep incline- absolutely crazy! The funny part: A few minutes later the coach came over and informed me that it was two laps of the above mentioned course that I wasn’t ever sure I could finish. And! After completion of the first round you had to run out of the water then run back in. Not cool but I finished my challenge and it felt and still feels GREAT!
Tomorrow please God, I will be swimming my second open water swim once again in Tobago. (The other island in my country.) This time I will be swimming a slightly shorter course; 2.5km and at a different location. This beach should have less waves and current. The group will be a lot smaller than that of my previous open water swimming experience and it will be interesting to see how I manage. Once again my goal is to finish. This is because I had stopped training for a significant period of time and I’m only now getting back up to where I used to be. At the open water swim meet in June please God, my goal will be to carry down my time and hopefully swim the 3km in just over an hour. My training will focus a lot on building core strength which I apparently don’t have much of, as well and strengthening my legs which are pretty strong but I depend on them very little while swimming as my arms are so powerful. Improving my kick will improve my overall efficiency as it will raise the second half of my body and bring me closer to streamline. I’m also beginning to experiment with dynamic stretching.
Today I gave some of my time to being a kayak person to guide those swimming on the 1.5km course and also to guide on shorter races such as two of the 100m open water swims for the younger age groups. Their enthusiasm is encouraging.
I hope you are managing whatever it is that you are going through. I hope you know that you are stronger and that you will overcome. I hope you know that you are loved by a God who will never fall out of love with you. He will be there waiting for you acknowledgement and repentance. He standing with open arms. Above all he is GREAT!
I hope you can find someone to talk to if everything isn’t okay and if you want anything prayed over just send me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you had extended periods of time without any formal commitments? How did you spend it? Did you challenge yourself in anyway? Let me know in the comments below.
Much love and respect,