Looking into a mirror while wearing a swimsuit exposes every blemish, lump and bump a woman has been able to ignore or disguise until this one dramatic moment. Females would rather be locked in a dark cobweb filled cellar than go shop for a swimsuit. Not Gertrude.

Gertrude’s Retirement Community has recently offered a membership to a community pool and included swimming lessons. She stared at the announcement on the activity calendar and began to think. Transportation is provided and the rates are affordable for this outside activity. Is she ready for the plunge? When Gertrude was a young child she never learned to swim. She could swing out over a river on a rope and scream at her friends but she wasn’t Esther Williams by any means. Raising a family didn’t allow time to lie in the sun when driving her kids to their swimming lessons. Her husband bought a boat for fishing but jumping in the lake would scare the fish away. Who would have predicted Gertrude would have a chance to learn to swim in her late eighties? The thought was tempting but Gertrude admits she hasn’t worn a swimsuit since she was in her twenties. Gertrude was overwhelmed by the pros and cons but one was apparent – she wanted to swim.

Step 1…Sign up. Gertrude never hesitated. She knew if a graceful sidestroke was never perfected the water aerobics alone would benefit muscles and tone her body. Gertrude found it inviting to know both the indoor area and water was heated to a temperature recommended by the Arthritis Foundation. No shivering or blue lips for this lady.

Step 2… Find a swimming buddy. Gertrude wanted to make sure she wasn’t the only one sitting on the bus. She also realized group activities at her Living Community were popular and she risked losing her chance if waiting too long. Gertrude was a few years older than the average age in her community and found it important to know who would be swimming beside her. When she reviewed the list she was excited to see many friends’ names were already listed.

Step 3…Get a swimsuit. On-line shopping for this wardrobe item was not an option as Gertrude wanted to be confident the suit fit. Several of the ladies arranged to have a staff member drive them to the mall to begin the search. The future swimmers found it comforting to find so many styles designed for the older and more mature woman. They were also pleased to find the new designs easy to wear and figure flattering. Gertrude and her friends laughed when discovering if they took off their glasses the image in the mirror wasn’t quite as bad as was expected. They were all in this together.

Step 4… Get in the water. The night before the first swimming class Gertrude and her friends watched classic Esther Williams movies, packed their nose plugs and swimming caps and went to bed early. The next day they grabbed their towels and boarded the bus. One toe in the water, then a foot, a leg and it was soon time to dunk. Swimming lessons were over and water aerobics were next.

Gertrude knows life is so much better when secure she is well taken care of and feeling safe, especially when trying a new activity. Better yet… life is over the top when wearing a new swimsuit and daring the world to stop you.

Gertrude and her friends are grateful they have chosen to live at a community where so many opportunities are offered and are busy crossing off the wishes on their bucket lists. Plus, they all like their new swimsuits. Who would have thought?