How did AA help me through the long hot summer?

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!

Dive into summer
Dive into summer

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.

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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.

So that’s my AA story and finding my Zen. I’m linking up to Min’s Zen Tip Tuesday. Last week I added a link to a post about losing myself in a book – is there a theme here or what??

How do you find zen? I’m always interested in hearing from you.

Deb xx

Zen Tip Tuesday

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Debbie - mother of a 40 year old

Everyone has a story to tell! Deb is a young-at-heart & active 60+ blogger/retiree, after being made redundant from her 22-year career managing education programs in a men’s correctional centre (jail). She now spends her time reading, blogging, riding her ebike and travelling. Deb was awarded a Bravery Award from the Queen when she was 17 after a tragic accident – a definite life changing moment! She is married with 3 grown-up daughters & has 4 grandchildren. She never imagined being Granny Debs would bring so much joy to her life! You can read more of Deb’s story here

40 Replies to “How did AA help me through the long hot summer?”

  1. I used to go to AA too Deb! Haha – phew so glad we’re both talking about the same AA and not the better known one. Yes Aqua Aerobics. I enjoyed it. Most of my class mates were much lovely ladies quite a bit older than me with varying levels of effort applied to the exercises LOL but everyone had fun regardless. I only stopped going because it ate up too much time in my days. 15-20 minute drive each way. 45 minute class. 15 mins or so chatting and changing etc. I do pilates locally now. I’m interested to hear more about your Chi Ball class – it sounds fascinating! Maybe you could share more about that for a featured ZTT post – just a thought! 😉 Thanks so much for linking up with #ZTT xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I could be in that Min, doing a post for ZTT I mean! I understand the time issue very well and am glad you’ve found a local pilates class. Thank you for the linkup, it’s always interesting to read other post on the topic.


  2. Sounds wonderful Debs and I’m sure feels amazing during the hot months. I haven’t done Aqua Aerobics for years, mainly because I’m not a lover of indoor public pools, (you don’t find many outdoor ones over here) but the exercises while feeling weightless is, I’m sure fabulous. Especially whilst looking up at that gorgeous sky 😊 can’t believe it’s all free too, how selfless your leader is, wonderful!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Sam, one of the perks of living in a small country town with lots of caring people who willingly volunteer their time and skills!! I love the feeling of weightlessness and even got used to the wrinkly skin after being in the water fore that long 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comment.


  3. I want to come too!! It sounds fantastic. I’ve just added “Gentle Gym” on Wednesdays and it’s all done to hits of the 70’s and 80’s. So much fun and only $3 a session like my Tai Chi classes. I’m loving being a senior citizen and getting these cheap fun classes. Your AA sounds right up my alley – and SO cheap! Chi ball would be great too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yay that it’s this AA you are talking about. Oh, yes, country towns…everyone knows everything about everyone, right? We had the distinction of being ‘called out’ after the NSW vote for daylight saving many decades ago as “only the two teachers” voted for it. LOL.

    Denyse x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I find my zen in yoga or a walk on the beach.
    Even 10 minutes of very basic yoga poses sorts me out. (Because I can only do very basic poses 😑)
    I remember doing aqua aerobics when I was pregnant with my second child. I liked it but not enough to do it again I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it’s not for everyone but the whole combination works for me here, it’s the complete package. Thanks for joining in, I love walking on my own too. Not that into yoga but it’s something I should try again.


  6. Hi Deb,
    They have water aerobics here but I’ve not joined up and now we are getting ready for the trek to our northern home…maybe next year!
    And the AA thing did give me pause…lol!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Deb, I’ve wanted to try Aqua Aerobics but never seem to fit it into my schedule. Perhaps when I move to the Coast I might see if there is one nearby. As for AA, I haven’t been there but Mike and I just celebrated (non alcoholic champagne of course) 12 months alcohol free! I’m so proud of him. #ZTT

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s great to hear of your 12 months alcohol free milestone, congrats to you both! Hope your plans for moving aren’t proving too stressful for you. Take care and don’t overdo it 🙂

      For some reason the combination of water, gentle exercises, warm weather and nice people made it a great activity over summer. I’ll be joining in again 🙂


  8. Well done Debbie and I know the hot temperatures in Australia do make exercise outside very challenging. When visiting Brisbane, I used to get up at 5am!! For some weird reason, I had to push the follow button again!! It makes such a difference to an activity when the people are welcoming and fun to be with. Swimming is excellent, and I too must get back into it also improve my flexibility and fitness. These 65+ hikers are a challenging lot 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. New phone and trying to get WordPress to work correctly. Some blogs I can access easily while others say I’m not following them. Tired from another hike today so not a good time to work out apps 🙄

        Liked by 1 person

  9. AA is something I have never done. But after reading your post, and your talk about finding your zen while floating – perhaps I might. Yoga is my go to zen zone. I simply love the after yoga feeling I experience. Oh, and I love that your local pool has free entry. More councils should do this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not a fan of aquarobics (I basically hate swimming pools) but my partner and almost everyone else I know who’s tried it loves it and becomes addicted–ironically, since you’re calling it AA. Or them. Is aquarobics a them or an it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not sure Ellen but I’m going with an ‘it’. It does become quite addictive and AA is a quite a fitting term. Thanks for your comment 😊 despite your dislike of all things swimming pool related!! That’s commitment!


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