Love is a Lake – (5 Strokes of Survival)

For someone who loves blogging and who loves reading other people’s blogs, I’ve been doing a sucky job of maintaining my own. (Permission to agree granted, just don’t go agreeing with me aloud). It’s not an excuse (honest).  I know exactly why my blog became harder and harder to write. Actually, I didn’t stop writing, I just stopped posting my thoughts. But I digress.

This blog is about love, happy, silly, quirky, funny, sometimes a little cynical, and even a little sad at times, but at the root of the matter there is an undying faith that love will pull though, all will be well and in the end, smiles, grins, kisses and goofy laughter in place, we’d all live happily ever after. 
But then my undying faith in love, well, it up and died and died in a most glorious fashion. (Cue violins.) As a result, I had little to blog about. (We can only do for the love of cute shoes and donuts so many times). So while I apologize to the faithful few who kept asking and hoping and cheering me on, who emailed with heart-aching lines to let me know you missed the blog and lost a ‘friend’, the true loss I assure you, was all mine. Blogs about love don’t work in the absence of the main subject. And my love is lost. (Or is hiding out in the witness protection program.)
Love is a beautiful thing. It is. I highly recommend it. It is a huge lake of liquid happiness unlike anything else we could ever hope to be so fortunate to experience. Given the chance to fall into it, go ahead. Plunge! Head first. Totally and completely surrender and wallow in it. 
But while you’re in there, you’re going to need to do some work. And perhaps this is where many of us go wrong. The focus is often so much on getting into the Love Lake that once you’re in you have no clue what to do. There is no need for all of us to go down together, so let’s see if we can work this out. Because if you dive into the pretty lake, content to tell all you’re in love and then do nothing, you will surely drown. And love will toss your lifeless limbs on the loveless shore to rot. 
When embarking on that whole love thing, on entering the warm and shimmery lake immediately start swimming. And to escape drowning at any point in time along the way, keep swimming. Here’s how.

1. Freestyle

When the waters are calm and everything is as it should be, enjoy that time and make the most of it. Immerse yourself in the love lake and each other but be sure to turn your head for air. Alternate how you turn your head to, sometimes look towards the other person at your side and take time to sometimes look away. Time together to build the relationship is just as important as time for yourself to build you. Too often we lose ourselves along the way and much later, in seeking to find that person we lost, we swim apart.

Set your boundaries and stay in lane, don’t let other swimmers cross your path or it will impede your flow. Keep each other in sight and safe, swim happily on together. This is the sweet part, why you got together in the first place. Remember these precious happy times and keep a mental list tucked away safe in your heart for the rainy days. If the tides shift, you can pull them out, dust them off, smile and swim on.

2. Backstroke

Keep communication flowing. The backstroke is a beautiful technique. You can breathe easily, look at the blue sky and feel the warm sunshine on your cheeks while gliding with easy strokes through the water. Nice as it is to swim sunny side up though, you can’t see what you are swimming into, so a companion to guide you with some verbal instruction is beneficial. Talk to each other.

Be honest, open and sharing. But all the while keep in mind it goes both ways, so be a good listener too. Don’t be judgemental or overly critical when giving your opinion and give your opinion. We may act like we have it all together sometimes but we don’t and feedback helps work things through and removes that lonely isolated feeling. Confide and be a good confidante. If the person you are with is not comfortable confiding in you, rest assured they will eventually find someone else to confide in.

Oh and ‘confidante’ should immediately convey the impression that intimate conversations between partners should remain confidential, but in case that escaped you then I’d like to point out that what is shared between two should stay between only two or you’ll be swimming in choppy waters.(Or in the witness protection program.)

3. Breaststroke

All days aren’t sunny ones and no one likes to gaze upon grey cumulonimbus while a torrential downpour slams you in the face. You will have your individual challenges and though sorting out your own is one thing, dealing with someone else’s issues can be harder. Fortunately you can help each other through the rough stuff. That’s just what a partner is for. But it is easier to get to your destination if you have it in sight, so there are times to turn over and indulge awhile in a breaststroke. Look ahead. Keep swimming. Those happy memories you tucked away before will come in handy now to help you stay focused on the destination.

This swimming technique requires that you keep your chin up, so please do. Stay positive and try to have a happy outlook. Emotions are contagious so what you give out you should get back. Talking helps, start there. Backstroke a bit.

4. Lay Float

Sometimes though when it rains it really pours and you may need to take a time out and re-evaluate. Seek counselling if you can’t work it out between yourselves. Your counsellor should be a trained professional that isn’t a friend, relative or in-law of any kind. (Just saying.) How you take your time out is your choice, take some time out together or take some out apart. Bear in mind though that during that time you are not swimming in your love lake and just lay floating around, if you float for too long you are going to catch cramp, so it is advisable to get back to swimming quickly. If all you can muster is to tread water some days then go for it, but do something to get the relationship back on track.

5. Break for the Shoreline

Your relationship will take you through a variety of swimming styles and external conditions will mean you’ll swim in varying currents. When the waters are really rough, you will need to rescue each other. However, if the waters are more rough than calm, I am very much a believer in rescuing yourself. Know when you are too tired to swim any longer and just get out the water, head for shore.

I for one am standing on shore and I am quite content to be here, but I’ve got all my swim gear on, ready to run and hit off into the lake again should the opportunity arise. All I need now is the right swim partner to join me. (Sharks need not apply.) The shore is not such a bad place to be. There are plenty of us here and there’s a BBQ going.

But if your lake is calm and your strokes are steady, stay in and swim on. And whatever you do, keep swimming.

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Laugh loud, love hard and live in the sunshine.

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