In three years, I’ll be done with it. Actually, I don’t use one because I very rarely actually sit chair anymore. What whistle am I talking about? My lifeguard one.
When I first got certified in ’95, I did so at Silver Bay in Lake George. It was a full week program of classes from 8am-9pm with breaks for food and little adult supervision after 9pm. I learned a lot about myself, what I could do and who I was on the shore that week. Lifegaurding and the friends I started to make through that gave me something that was just mine. The friends reminded me that I was funny, fun, and a good friend even if the kids I went to school with didn’t see it. It opened the door to meet others and I found people like me! I loved my summers on pool decks, working with the kids and the money in my pocket.
Now, I’ve been a lifeguard and/or swim teacher since 1995. That’s 18 summers if you count this one coming up and 17 years. That’s a long ass time. In that time, I’ve had 2 actual saves where I had to more than just reach a hand out to help a swimmer who was a little too far in over their heads; I’ve taught somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000 kids, gone through about 50 bottles of sunscreen, 25 pairs of sun glasses, and more pool towels and flip-flops than I can even begin to count. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing people, made wonderful friends, and only met a few people who I couldn’t care less to know.
Sunday, I re-certified my lifeguarding for the 5th(?) time. As I walked into the gym, guard suit in one hand, goggles in the bottom of my bag and flip-flops on my feet, I made the executive decision that unless Frank and I buy a house with a pool in the back yard, this would be the last time I took this test.
This certification will be good for three years. I don’t know what my life will look like in three years, but I think after that, I’ll be done. It’ll take me to a full 20 years of teaching/guarding. That’s a nice number to go out on.