Stop to smell the chlorine

At some point in my life, swimming became a task. I’m not sure quite when it happened, but I remember being a kid and spending hours in the water, doing summersaults and standing on my hands, playing tag, throwing things into the water and chasing after them, pretending I was an otter . . . a million things. The other day I was at our local community center, “doing my laps,” and I realized that I was literally unable not to count them. I’m not training for anything; I was there just for the joy of swimming. And yet my brain couldn’t concentrate on the sensation of water on my skin or even chlorine in my eyes for more than a second before it went back to keeping track of what number lap this was and how many I had to go. While I kept one reddened eye on the clock, though I wasn’t in any hurry.

Can I blame our culture for this? –The need to quantify everything to feel that we’re doing something “right” or filling our quota or getting our money’s worth or staying on schedule? Does your brain keep you on the go, even when you’re already there? Please let me know; perhaps I’m just obsessive compulsive.