Swings and Roundabouts
My oldest little guy, Lake, loves to swim. In fact it’s the only sport he does do at school and if ever he got to the swimming Olympics, there couldn’t be more an appropriate name for a swimmer lining up to start a race. But to be fair he swims more for enjoyment than the competition and professional swimming doesn’t even register on his radar. Why would it when you can have your own YouTube channel? 😁
Three mornings a week we get him up early (his choice) to attend early morning training before school starts. He then swims after school again in the afternoons and has no issue with the amount of training. In fact he understands the importance and benefits of cold water immersion because it’s something I practice. I don’t mind him being so busy but the amount of food an 8 year old can consume is frightening. I get up early naturally to exercise, before I start my day, so taking him to school at 05:45am isn’t a problem at all. The world is quiet. The air is cool (if you live in Joburg and are up at that time you would have noticed a chilly change in the air) and I love listening to the world view of an 8 year old in that environment.
It’s that time of year that the sun is just coming up before 6 am and our view as we enter the school gates is east. The Joburg skyline, to the south, is clear and we look directly into the sun shaking off its slumber, as it creeps over the horizon. It’s quiet, bar the birds singing and I love the stillness at that time. In fact on Monday this week we stopped to just watch the rising sun and just for a few seconds be as present as we could be (as present as a 8 year old mind will allow). We continued our walk down to the pool and as I started to speak about the beauty of the morning, Lake said that the grass was wet (dew) and he hated walking on cold, wet grass. I reassured him that cold, wet grass shouldn’t detract from the awesomeness of the morning.
I digress slightly in my story now just to make a point. I was having a conversation with a therapy mentor after a particularly long day in clinic and he asked me how the clinic was going? I said that I had had a particularly busy day but that the following 2 days were relatively quiet. I had been through patches of intense busyness and then periods of relative quiet. Nothing seemed consistent. His answer to me was simply “what you lose on the swings, you make up on the roundabouts”. You see in the end everything is really in balance. Life is always balanced, it’s really our unbalanced perception that creates the illusion of imbalance. An unbalanced perception will create an unbalanced emotional response to a neutral situation. Dislike (emotional response) of cold, wet grass (neutral situation). I often steal the line from a song of Tom Petty’s “same days are diamonds, some days are rocks”. When I was coaching rugby at a club it was a phrase used often to make light of a sometimes tough coaching environment.
On Tuesday morning, early, we made the same walk down to the pool but nature it seemed wanted to personally upset me. I think it was karmic retribution for stealing a bottle of cane from my dads bar when I was 19. I thought the hangover was punishment enough but I was obviously wrong. It was overcast, no sun and more windy than usual. There was no stopping to take in the beauty of the morning with gratitude just a hurried shuffle down to the swimming pool. I mentioned to Lake that today definitely wasn’t as good as yesterday. The elegance of yesterday’s day break was replaced with a greyness that reflected my mood until Lake looked up at me and said “Dad I know the sun isn’t shinning today but the grass isn’t cold and wet. It’s much easier to walk on and doesn’t hurt my feet.”
I couldn’t help but smile. He even asked what was so funny. Swings and roundabouts. Diamonds and rocks.