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It’s Perfectly Fine to Be a Late Bloomer

It’s Perfectly Fine to Be a Late Bloomer
    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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