I’m an emotional person. That’s my greatest lesson from my mindfulness program. I’ve stopped taking the antidepressants after just two months. It’s not what the doctors advise but it seemed like the right thing for me to do because they didn’t seem to be working that well.
Or rather the antidepressants did work, but only as long as I kept busy with work or the family. As soon as I stopped to think or talk about myself I still felt incurably sad.
I’ve been crying a lot, sometimes on and off for days but don’t worry. That’s a good thing because it turns out that years of suppressing my emotions is probably what made me depressed.
Lately I’ve been working less and generally focusing on being selfish. Motivation to do more and do things better has slumped and I’ve been taking it easy with the 52 Exercises quest because I’m taking it easy on myself. I guess that’s a good thing if only I could get over the guilt.
Then suddenly a glimmer of motivation and energy came back to me. For the first time in a few weeks I wanted to do something different, something new, something exciting I’d never tried before. Aqua aerobics was an easy choice because the public pool is a few minutes from my home and it’s on every day.
So here I am at the pool totally immersed in the warm water with 24 other women and one man who’s probably having the time of his life. Our average age is around 65 although I’ve probably lowered that considerably. At 45 years old I am a mere baby compared to most of the others.
Another good thing about aqua aerobics is that if I cry no one will notice but, as the music cranks up and the class gets started, my main emotion is not sadness but boredom. The music is terrible, the instructor lackluster and the grey heads bobbing up and down are completely out of rhythm to the music.
Not that I’m doing any better. It turns out that aqua aerobics isn’t a soft option, it’s actually hard work to pump your legs around under water and impossible to keep to the beat.
But then the old eighties favourite Relax! By Frankie Goes to Hollywood comes on and I can’t stop myself from sniggering aloud. Hearing the hardcore leather clad gay band sing:
“Relax, don’t do it, when you want to go to it,
Relax, don’t do it, when you want to come.
Relax, don’t do it, when you want to suck to it,
Relax, don’t do it, when you want to come.”
just seems so wrong in this setting.
But no one else seems to have a problem with the filthy music and, as the song changes to a cover version of Jump for your Love by Van Halen, we grab our noodles, wedge them between our legs, hold on tight and rock to and fro as instructed.
There’s an unexpected tingling between my legs which feels good. Really good. I slow down and look round guilty. Is it just me or is this why aqua aerobics is so popular with older women?
But there’s no time to ponder the sensual nature of aqua aerobics. Now we have to jump around in a circle, doing six jumps to the front, six to the right and so on until we come full circle.
As we turn to the back of the pool for six jumps a man comes into view. A muscly man with tattoos and red Speedos.
He’s in deep conversation with the swim coach, oblivious to anyone else. I watch them talk, I watch as he turns and walks away. I notice it says lifeguard on his bottom but before I have a chance to feign drowning he is gone.
I suddenly notice the instructor talking and jump round to the side and finally back to the front. She’s laughing and saying how everyone was doing a lot of jumps facing the back and I realize it wasn’t just me, the entire class was watching the man in the red trunks. These women are advanced in years and enjoying advanced adventures with their own imaginations right here in the public pool. What felt so wrong suddenly seems so right.
Here we are. 25 people jumping around in the pool. Jumping together, but each engrossed in her or his own feelings of boredom, energy and even lust, each feeling the water on her skin, the brightness of the sky on her face and feeling alive. Each hearing the songs as if sung just for them, each experiencing the moment as though they are alone even though we are here together.
Each of us connected individually at one with this moment, this water, this world. We may all be born alone and destined to die alone but today we were alone together. This morning the world put on a show for us and we were fully part of it.
The noodle is back on the edge of the pool now, the music has stopped and the man in the red trunks long gone. But he was there, we were there and emotions were running high at aqua aerobics.
It’s hard to think of a question here but please do tell: Do you prefer men in Speedos or board shorts?
Aqua Aerobics Exercise Review
Cost: $13 at the Noosa Aquatic Center.
Time Exercising: 60 minutes.
Average Heart Rate: No idea, couldn’t wear my heart rate monitor under water but a fair jig around.
Fun Factor: 6/10 – More men in Speedoes would make it more fun.
Fear Factor: 3/10 – It’s winter here so I was mildly worried the water would be cold but it wasn’t.
Post-exercise Glow: 8/10. Mmmm.
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