same as it ever was

7

02/01/2014 by Carl Reynolds

Readers and viewers of this blog will understand that I am obsessed about swimming, but have become less obsessed about blogging in the last few months. Since I began with Ginger Swimmer five years ago I written about places to swim, my thoughts on swimming, other swimmers and populated this all with many photographs. Have all these endeavours changed me? I’m asking myself this question because I have been reflecting on the idea that doing something creates change; but this idea is itself complex. Without doubt if I do something as opposed to nothing I will use more energy. But I think people who advocate effort believe that it creates mental change. The simple equation being – if I devote myself to months of training to, say, swim around Jersey, then in the course of the training I will face my mental demons and my edges and come away changed for the better. But I have not heard anyone say what change for the better they have experienced. I have heard many people say how they enjoyed the journey and were exhilarated by the accomplishment (or near accomplishment) of their goal, but that is a different matter. And of those I know who have swum the Channel, or rowed across an ocean, or cycled across a continent, I cannot say that they have really changed. Those that are light-hearted and generous, continue to be so; those that are jejune continue to be so; and those that are self-contained and soft spoken, also continue to be so. And, in one famous international example, those that are self promoting and aggrandising, continue to be so.

But back to me! One of the things that putting all this effort into blogging has done has made me appreciate it’s use elsewhere – in work and other situations. It’s also made me think about my writing a little more – I am more careful with construction and I edit. And I think my photography has improved a little over the years. Physically I am a little rounder, but I don’t think that has much to do with blogging! Mentally I think I am still me – mostly optimistic, occasionally cynical and not motivated by external validations. Which brings me to my conclusion. The accumulation of age and experience informs most of us that our way is one of many. And that there are many ‘right’ ways. So, I wish you all fulfilling journeys on your ways and will continue to be amused by the plethora of motivational quotes peppering the FB pages and blogs of swimmers various which suggest huge paradigm shifts in consciousness; I will continue to feel unmotivated and unenlightened and enjoy swimming.

 

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7 thoughts on “same as it ever was

  1. Bryn Dymott says:

    Your motivation and the positive effects that you and your blog, have had on my swimming and others have brought about change. My swimming addiction has been partly fuelled by swimming adventures that I have had the pleasure to share with you. Many thanks :)

  2. Chris says:

    Change for most of us I’m guessing is glacially slow as it is held back by all the things that normalise our lives, the things we have to do: tax returns, get the kids to school, go to work. Maybe for a person who feels that swimming the channel has changed their life it is not the swim that changed them it was all the things in their life they had to change to make a hole big enough to drop a swim of that proportion into.

    • Chris – I think I both agree and disagree with you. I think it’s the day to day which defines who we are to those around us; and the extra-curricula (so to speak) which is where we find the space to explore our boundaries without responsibility for others. I’m not sure that changes us much, but it’s certainly fun, exhilarating and many times trying. At the end of the day, people are motivated differently; and I have learnt to respect the mountainous efforts of others, whilst remembering that they remain essentially themselves.

  3. Alex says:

    At Quick Dip I decided that I would celebrate the sameness of my daily swim. It was too much effort to be informative and I don’t have the talent to instruct others. When I thought about stopping I went through the archives and enjoyed seeing and remembering all those early morning swims, each unique and all very similar. There’s even a picture of Elizabeth diving in this morning!

  4. Amanda Sitto says:

    Really enjoyed reading blog today Carl. Erudite and thought provoking!
    Keep writing.

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