Photo credit: Lindley Ashline (CC BY-NC 2.0)

I remember that there were some little kids in my outdoor pool this past summer while I was doing my swim workout. They must have been from about five to eight years old and unlike other kids who usually just play around in the shallow end, these kids were diving all over the deep end like they were mini-torpedoes. I was actually quite impressed with their swimming abilities especially given their young ages.

I like the idea of doing great cardiovascular exercise without sweating like a hog, which is why I take as much advantage of the outdoor pool season as possible when it is in full swing. So during the summer, I’m swimming at least three times per week all season long.

As I was watching these kids through my swim goggles while doing my laps, I was also thinking about how my own swimming skills were like when I was their age — or to be more accurate, the lack of swimming skills. When I was their age, all I could do was the starfish float, in shallow water.

I had not really learned how to swim yet. Oh, I would try but I would just end up doing some feeble flapping of my arms, which did not propel me anywhere in the pool. I then proceeded to sink like a battleship that took a direct hit.

The Turning Point for a Late Bloomer

In fact, this was the extent of my swimming ability even up to my high school years. During my first year of high school, I was lucky enough (or unlucky as I saw it back then) to get the swim team coach as my gym teacher. It was not surprising that we were going to get double the amount of swim days compared to other students at the school. And for some reason, most students hated swimming.

I knew that I was in for a major embarrassment each time we had those swim days because of my poor swimming abilities. But this teacher, who we nicknamed ‘Duckie’ because of his obsession with water, forced us to keep doing laps in the pool.

Somehow through those forced laps, I actually started to be able to swim the entire length of the high school pool, even though I would usually drag behind most other students. By the end of my high school years, I became a proficient swimmer. During university, I even occasionally went to the campus Olympic size pool to do laps.

Another World Opens Up

Years later while on vacation, I took a ride in a tourist submarine in the Virgin Islands. I saw just how beautiful the Caribbean coral reefs were and I wanted to experience this magical underwater world as a scuba diver. When I got home, I soon decided to take a certification course in scuba diving and at age 38, I become a fully certified scuba diver.

Being a certified scuba diver opened up a whole new world for me as over the years, I have dived in Costa Rica, the Red Sea and all over the Caribbean. I have had close encounters with all sorts of marine life including stingrays, dolphins and sharks. Some of my dives were even caught on video which I have used to entertain my website visitors, especially the ‘landlubbers’.

Being able to experience the underwater world and its wonderful marine life has enabled me to really appreciate our planet better. This has also boosted my own personal growth in a way that was not possible before.

Never Too Late to Learn New Skills

This is why I totally believe that it is never too late to learn new skills. I was a late bloomer as a swimmer unlike those little kids at my outdoor pool this summer. By finally learning how to swim, I was able to become a certified scuba diver even if I did these later in life. But that is okay because I am now enjoying experiences and personal growth that I would never have imagined when I was young.

If you have always wanted to do something like swimming or other sports or perhaps learning other new skills such as a new language, it is NEVER too late. Just do some research to find qualified instruction and go for it. Learning new skills is part of personal development. You will not regret learning even as a late bloomer.

Love this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook