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Why Swimming is My Positive Addiction

Jeff Condon, local estate planning attorney and author of two books about the subject, sometimes writes about his career with advice for our readers. This month, he said to himself, “Meh! Forget that stuff! For once, dare to be

different and write about something that you feel passionate about that has nothing to do with your day job.”

So, here is Jeff’s article about swimming. “Actually,” he explains, “it’s more of a confessional to my OCD-like compulsion to swim at a level higher than which I am capable. I am 59 years old. Since age 41, I have swum nearly every single day with my swim club, Southern California Aquatics (based out of the Santa Monica Swim Center). This is not a ‘lap-swim-and-get-out’ thing. It’s an intense hour with coaches giving sets that are often beyond your ability to make.

“I am never satisfied with ‘noble failure.’ I am consumed with swimming better, faster, and more efficiently so that I can make the base set by the coach. I have to leave the pool knowing I left ‘it all’ in the pool. This is an every day thing. My late father called it my ‘positive addiction.’ Sure, it’s not the kind that destroys you. But, it’s still an addiction with all the classic traits of one – especially the aspect of it running your life.

Jeff Condon

“I swim even when – and especially when – I don’t feel like it. Which is, pretty much, every single day. Who wants to get up before sunrise? Who wants to go from warm and comfy to wet and cold? I don’t! Neither do you! I go to bed each night with an uneasy dread over how tough it will be to get up, jump into usually cold water and suffer through whatever torture is conjured up by the coach-of-the-day. But, when that alarm goes off at 4:40 a.m. and I complain to myself that I don’t want to get going, my brain/inner voice shouts,‘Who cares what you want? This is what you are going to do!’ This schizophrenic-type back-and-forth takes place in my head every single morning.

“So, why do I still swim in the context of such dread? Because swimming makes you feel like yourself. Because swimming gives you a physique of a person years younger. Because swimming allows you to order dessert on Date Night. Because swimming gives you daily friendly camaraderie with people of all types, genders, and colors that you may never otherwise encounter. And, because swimming makes you feel special since 99% of the populace can’t do what I do at my age.

“For me, the most important benefit of swimming is that it helps me think that I can defy the aging process. Defying age is a terrific motivator. It makes you get in the water. It forces upon you the self-pressure to maintain that default swim-base. All of which helps you achieve the ultimate goal of staving off death. I don’t know about you, but I can’t die. I have massive claustrophobia.

“So, this is the ‘Swim Brain of Jeff Condon.’ Maybe one day I will learn to turn off the need for such intensity in a sport that most people associate with dreamy and relaxing qualities. For now, this is the side of me that no one, especially my swim buddies, sees or suspects or, really even cares about. It’s one that I’ve been wanting to ‘let loose’ on an unsuspecting public, and I thank The Santa Monica Star editor for giving me this opportunity.”

Attorney, Jeff Condon can be reached at 310-393-0701.

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