I didn't chicken out which was huge; and I swam over a mile in much harder conditions than I am used to in my, and the local "Y," pool.
The fact that I did it made me feel good. Although, I was admittedly frustrated with my performance as well. I did not, on Day One, make it as far as the rest of the group, all the way out to the buoy. I had trouble breathing -- getting the pace of my breath -- in the cold with all the tight straps around my neck. I had to keep stopping to catch my breath and, at one point, I ended up separated from the group and my anxiety got the best of me. I turned back probably an eighth of a mile short of that buoy. All the way back, I asked, "Is this a metaphor? Will I stop short in my life of where I want to go?"
I came back half proud, and half defeated.
Day Two I showed up, knowing this is half the battle. My hope was slightly restored. Out I went with the group; quickly I fell behind. Still, this time, I made it all the way out to the buoy, still struggling with both my speed and my breath. Still disappointed, but happier.
At first I thought maybe the swan was a good omen, but the faster I tried to swim, the faster he/she followed, leaving me only more exhausted and breathless. I decided I could do without the symbolism, and was relieved when he/she finally turned away. I'll swim on my own, thank you.