A Lesson in Swimming (No, not that one)

On a Monday morning, I got a really good swimming lesson.

It was not what I expected.

The Lessons Learned from Swimming

I mean, I’ve learned many swimming techniques. I’ve re-learned how to do a front crawl. I’ve learned how to refine my backstroke.

I’ve learned how to do that frog style of swimming.

And I’ve learned how to more or less do the breaststroke.

No, this lesson is about learning to read carefully; especially if the language you’re reading is more like your second one.

I Know a Little

Now, I have some knowledge in Korean. After all, I was born in South Korea. I immigrated to Canada when I was 5 years old. Though I didn’t learn formally at school, I had my parents, my grandparents speaking to me and reading the Bible.

I’ve been in South Korea for over a decade. Again, I didn’t formally learn the language, but I picked up a bit of it from Da Missus and the people I’m with.

The Message, The Mistake, The Embarrassment

So I get this message from the swimming center. I glanced at the message and saw one date (the one on Monday morning). I thought that was the last day for me to renew my membership at the swimming center.

The actual final day to renew was on Sunday, which meant the last day for me to renew at my convenience was last Thursday. Unfortunately, I slept in; I was too groggy from the medicine I took to treat my athlete’s foot.

When I woke up early this morning around 6:00 am to renew my membership, I was in for a shock.

I was too late.

Two female workers at the front desk explained to me that the last day was yesterday. The only way I can get back into the course if I lined up early in the morning on Tuesday at 6:00 am. There were only 5 spots available, so there was the chance I may miss out on my spot.


I was frustrated and pissed off. But in the few moments letting these emotions in, I knew the entire situation was my fault.

I should’ve been more careful with the things I’m not familiar with. I should’ve have given the message much more consideration, taking nothing for granted.

I should’ve signed up much earlier!

But what made me feel worse was their “Aw shucks, that’s too bad” attitude. While they’re not entitled to apologize, I felt they should’ve explained the stuff better.

So I told them that. They could’ve explained it in a way for me to laugh it off. Instead, they infuriated me and I vented my frustration with their explanation and indifference.

Their faces showed a little surprise and in a roundabout way, they apologized. One of the workers went a bit more out of the way by helping me with the application form. She highlighted some of the things I needed to check off on the back side of the page to complete the application.

When I saw her again, I remembered who she was. I did one month at the gym last summer and she was the trainer there. That did help calm me down.

I didn’t mean to give the other worker the brunt of my wrath, but it was her words that triggered my anger. I personally felt the treatment could’ve been done better.

Rant over.

Anyways, I’m going to try to renew.  I still have two more swimming sessions. Maybe I’ll be able to swim next month. Maybe not.

The Lessons

Be careful of the things you have little knowledge of. Understand as much as you can of the territory. If it’s a task, finish it off ASAP or set a schedule to finish it a week or two before the due date.

Know what you can control, what you can’t, and the difference between them. This puts your energy and focuses in the right place.

If you have something to say, I think it’s best to say it. Unless the words could really hurt the other person, feedback on a person’s performance is going to help. I know, in my case, I would like any feedback that can improve my life.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *