This is about a very different sort of AA than what you’re probably thinking!
No, just to be clear, I don’t have an alcohol problem, in fact, I haven’t had a drink since August 2018! I started not drinking any alcohol due to issues with a blood test and I must say I haven’t missed it at all.
I’m not seeing how long I can go alcohol free for, but I just don’t feel like having a drink, so I don’t! My family laugh when I say I’m not drinking at the moment, as if I was ever going to win any prizes for my drinking habits – I really should’ve been classified as a non-drinker anyway, due to the amount and regularity of my drinking. Maybe that’s why I don’t miss it!
Anyway AA to me stands for Aqua Aerobics and it was a lifesaver through the long hot summer months! I must admit it did cause a few people to look at me strangely whenever I blithely said, ‘I’ve just been to AA’, or ‘I’m just off to AA’, until I realised AA also stands for Alcoholics Anonymous (which to be clear I have never been to before but understand they are an awesome organisation). My daughters just laughed at me – again!
The bi-weekly classes on Monday and Thursday mornings for an hour, were a godsend on some of our hottest days over summer. The group of men and women of various ages, would meet at the pool, deposit a gold coin into the collection box and start their warm up exercises of walking or running across the pool. The playlist of songs to which we exercised were very age appropriate and more than once one or more of us would break into song thinking we were just humming quietly along!
Due to circumstances beyond my control I probably missed more sessions than I made but it didn’t matter. I’d just turn up and be welcomed into the group and the pristine waters (yes, it’s a public pool too) and get going.
Finding the Zen of Aqua Aerobics
Lyn, our leader, has been doing these classes for many years for free! Yes free! She works as a nurse at the local hospital in between times, often having to swap a shift around so she can get to the classes. If she doesn’t make it, we have a notice board of the all the exercises, in the correct order, and we just get on with it. The gold coin we all drop into her box? Well she collects this all season and decides on a local cause to make a donation to. How amazing is that? She’s selfless, encouraging and a real star in my eyes!
As the pool entry fee has been made free in recent times, we don’t even have to pay to get in! We have an hour of fun, exercising and socialising in the beautifully maintained pool. This class has been one of the joys I’ve discovered since being retired.
I just love the quiet time, the peaceful feeling of being away from devices, the social chat with your neighbour in the water or the ability to stay quiet and concentrate on doing the gentle exercises if that’s what you want. They may feel gentle but it has been found that aqua aerobics has some good effects on your body and for some of the older people in the group, it can be a great way of moving without any pain.
Being in the clear water, watching the clouds float above while we float too, or listening to the birds squawk around us, or the littlies splashing at the other end of the pool, feeling the peace and quiet – it all brings a smile to my face and I just love it!
I love the different people I get to mix with, the friendships made, the gentle banter and the weight just falls off my shoulders. I always feel so much better when I leave. It gives my day that special something and I embrace it. That’s my sort of zen.
The pool was a refuge from the relentless heat of our long hot summer too. The water was rarely too cold having been heated from the solar panels during the day and the blanket at night. It might have only been an hour or so, a few times a week but it was a magical few hours in my eyes.
The pool season here in Tumbarumba is relatively short, from late November to mid March, and now it’s over. No more AA until later in the year.
How do I find my zen place now?
Well the local gym is starting classes of Chi-Ball which I’ve done in the past and enjoyed for similar reasons, it’s calming, quiet and focussed, with a small group.
ChiBall is a mind-body exercise and wellness programme that is based on the principles of traditional Chinese Medicine. A ChiBall class combines the modalities of Tai Chi-Qi Gong, Dance, Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais and Relaxation/Meditation with inspiring music.Google search
A true story
When we first moved to Tumbarumba in January 1991, I took my three little girls to the pool and the manager looked at me, looked at the girls and said ‘you’re the new maths master’s wife and family aren’t you?’ I was gobsmacked after moving from the big city where no-one knew anyone, to be recognised like this on our first outing! I thought I had a tattoo on my forehead saying we were new, but no, everyone knew about us moving to town and he just put two and two together. He is a lovely man and to this day still works at the pool and asks after my girls each time I go there. Small towns are like that, which I’ve since learnt, and it’s one of the reasons we’ll stay here.
How do you find zen? I’m always interested in hearing from you.
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A tragic accident at age 17, resulting in a Bravery Award from the Queen, didn’t deter Debbie from travelling the world. A young retiree, after being made redundant from her 22 year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre, she now loves reading, blogging, riding her ebike and a good cup of tea! Also known as Granny Debs to her 4 grandchildren.