Taking the plunge

Luke and Esther playing in the back yard yesterday

Luke and Esther playing in the back yard yesterday

Last week I wrote about my trip down south (ending in New Orleans) and my decision to stay a couple of extra days alone at the end of the trip. I found a Bed and Breakfast, called The Green House Inn, that sounded perfect. A feature that I really liked was their salt water swimming pool. As I was making my reservations, the owner said, “The pool is european style”, so I asked what this meant and he said, “It is a ‘clothing optional’ pool, Miss Mary.” I laughed and thought, “Well, this really will be an adventure!”

I don’t know if I will be brave enough to go naked into the pool. The idea of looking at my own (almost 60-year-old) body, naked, isn’t all that appealing, much less having it seen by anyone else. I know that I should love my body, and truly I have made peace with it…mostly. But totally naked, in front of people?

Of course I’ve packed my swim suit, just in case I chicken out. But I would like to try going into the pool….naked. It sounds like a fun challenge, like the time I (who was very afraid of heights) decided to go skydiving. I just wanted to see if I could do it. But as I think about this,  I believe that skydiving was easier. I did have to get into the plane, allow myself to be strapped to my instructor, and creep to the door of the plane. But after that, it was done; I was going to float down to earth, by parachute, whether I changed my mind or not. And I didn’t have any fear that people were going to roll their eyes when they saw me or think, “I hope that I don’t look like that when I get older!”

So this feels like a challenge…in the best sense of the word. I am challenging my false pride and the non-acceptance of my aging body, because the thought of aging gracefully and being unconcerned about (and accepting of) the way my body looks, is so lovely to me. I’m not there yet, but I would like to be….I can imagine it. And that is the first step.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Steve Jobs

32 thoughts on “Taking the plunge

  1. Good Morning, Mary! What an opportunity for self-exploration!! I look forward to hearing how this unfolds for you. And I love the Steve Jobs quote.

  2. Thank you Diana! I will be sure to report back on this adventure (no pictures from this part of the trip!)

  3. You are way braver than I. My plan would be to go to the pool around midnight, wearing my suit. If no one was there, I’d slip out of it and luxuriate in the skinny-dip. No way could I ever “go as I am.” I’d be afraid of people being struck blind. 🙂

  4. Mary, I just love how this story is unfolding and can’t wait to read the next chapter! I’m really happy you’ve been given this opportunity and even happier for you that you are going. Happy planning and don’t worry about the naked part, you look great!
    Love and hugs to you ❤❤❤

  5. There’s a beach in Vancouver — Wreck Beach — which is a “clothing optional” place. I hiked there, fully clothed, not intending to swim, and saw many shapes and sizes of humanity. I particularly remember a man of perhaps 80, walking the beach carrying a driftwood walking stick worthy of Prospero, his large belly partially obscuring what lay below. I looked at him and thought, “Wow! To be that free.” Be that free, Mary. Your body is just a bio-electrical conveyance by which your soul travels this mortal plane. Your soul is lovelier than ever.

    • I love your thought/words, “Wow! To be that free!”…I want that too!

  6. The Norwegian Lutheran in me silently (of course) gasped…NAKED…hahaha was I not a child of the 60’s? That would be challenging now that I am over 60ish 🙂 …i never knew there was a European way of swimming…but geez i say your in a different city…no one knows you…the monkey mind starts!!! Have tons of fun Mary!!!!!!!!

    • Thank you Janette…your words, “Have tons of fun” reminded me of a scene from a favorite movie of mine (Enchanted April) where Lottie says to the people gathered “This place is a tub of love!”

  7. Dear Mary, although going naked may seem like a challenge (to say the least!), please remember that your beautiful body is a reflection of all the wonderful experiences it/you have had along the road of your life. It is a precious and beautiful expression of not only your spirit and your love of life, but the many ways in which it now reflects the gentleness with which you choose to view it. Your body is the expression of you….a kind, loving and exceptional human being. Bring the bathing suit….whether you are wearing it or not, your body will reflect your beauty.

  8. My comment has little to do with the content of your post. Many, many times when I’ve received a post and Luke is in the picture I say to myself I need to let Mary know how very precious I think Luke must be. His face is so sweet! The look in his eyes and his lovely shaggy body and coloring…he touches my heart. :O)

    • Thank you Kay. Someone recently said that they hadn’t seen Luke in my pictures in a long time and I realized that they were right (he goes to Jack’s shop with him all day so I am more inclinded to take kitty pictures, since they surround me)..he is a very sweet and loving dog. Truly a gentle giant.

  9. I’m with Suzanne. Strip in increments if you feel inclined. Skinny dipping is the reward. Then you just have the casual saunter to a dry towel to navigate !

  10. I have a family member who, when surprised, says “nothing surprises me anymore!” Usually it is said while rolling her eyes, insinuating a negative thought, behavior or whatever.

    While reading your post this morning, Mary, I thought the same thing to myself about you, but…not the rolling of the eyes bit; just your progressive journey of totality and whatever that looks like for you. I love your spirit.

    Maybe a two-piece suit and keep the bottoms on……..or the top on, not the bottoms. It’s kind of like dancing or having sex sober!

  11. Hi Mary – I just left a reply using my cell phone, but I don’t think it went through. So here goes again…I say “feggetaboudit” and I don’t trust the bed and breakfast guy with a wink and a nod toward the bed, “Miss Mary”! He probably wants you for breakfast. Get yourself safely back to Cambridge where ” the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the children above average”. We may have cold weather, but we have warm hearts.
    “Have clothes will travel”. Your homey, Mary Rita.

    • I do trust the lovely men who own this b and b Mary Rita, but more than that, I trust my inner guidance which is saying, “This is right for you Mary”

  12. Go for it Mary! What ever your heart desires in the moment! New Orleans and especially the French Quarter can really put a spell on you! Love the other comments today.

    • I think I will Terri! All I am feeling now (after reading so many encouraging and supportive words) is, “This is going to be perfect!”

  13. How heartily I smiled
    Amused and beguiled
    When the topic of ‘naked’ is spoken.

    We lay bare our souls
    Our hearts and goals
    Striving to be more open.

    While it may seem foreign
    That ‘less’ is ‘more’ in
    The fact of the matter is true.

    Our birthday suits all vary
    So worry not, dear Mary
    Clothed or bare—just be YOU!!

    WOO HOO! [The key to comfort is a large beach towel, wrapped a la post shower style, shed swiftly and close at hand at poolside. After a few liberating moments, you’ll notice that NOBODY notices or cares—except a newly empowered you!] Sign me: been there, done that, and left behind the T-shirt.:)

  14. Kay and Virginia already said what l felt when l saw Luke’s picture this morning – how utterly gorgeous and loveable (that includes Esther of course) – thank you for posting it.

    I also want to thank you so very much for your warm and kind words yesterday – I read them several times over.

    As for swimming naked, l chickened out last year while staying at a spa in Austria. I was the only one wearing a bathing suit – THAT was almost worse than being naked with everybody else in the sauna/steamroom. Next day l ‘forgot’ my bathing suit in the room – walking naked into the pool l noticed very quickly that nobody was interested in my body, no awkward stares, no critical eyes; tstststst, whispered my ego…

  15. It’s my understanding that naturists enjoys being clothing-free in the outdoors while nudists are more known for social nudity and partying.

    My husband was a naturist. After he retired and didn’t have to worry any longer about job security, I reluctantly agreed to go with him to a naturist resort not far from home (unaccompanied males were not permitted). I was nervous at first, but he was so proud of me and so grateful that we continued to go each summer until his health failed. As I watched pretty young things parading around the pool, I told him. “Let them go ahead and look at me and see what they’re going to look like in a few years when their geography slips.”

    Once for a creative writing class I tried writing haiku:
    “Free of restraint
    in sun-warmed water:
    Skinny-dipping joy”

  16. Been swimming naked for most of my life. As long as you checked online reviews about the place, you are probably not in danger. Except your ego, if you want to be noticed. I find very few people are mean or stare when naked. The whole stones and glass houses thing. If this is your first time, you might be more comfortable with someone you know. Or not.

    • I am very happy that I don’t know anyone there (yet!) and had a wonderful phone conversation with the men (a couple I believe) who own the b and b. Thank you for sharing your swimming journey Rose!

  17. I love this courageous post! The concept of being naked – physically naked. We are so identified as clothing wearing creatures. Who/what are we without our clothing? Such a loaded subject for women. the idea of being naked – It seems a strange horizon to be naked in a public place.

    I remember running around naked when I was a little girl, and the abandonment or lack of concern that there was anything wrong with it.

  18. “almost 60-year-old” … what better way to enter into that space of our
    next childhood- to be creative and make up for the “frozen/limiting” ways
    we perceived to be real and necessary in our first childhood…

    this sounds like an amazing adventure… enjoy, be accepting- be
    honest and true to Mary….whatever you decide is the “correct way” for
    you and your almost 60-year-old self….maybe take a selfie…

  19. Gads, Mary, truthfully, you’re braver than I would be. I can’t think of anything more positive to say than that. Modesty and vanity would make me change B&B’s…(smile).

    Yikes, I can just imagine if I advertised or announced that our B&B guest pool was nude or not, guest choice. I don’t think I could bear it looking at it from my studio windows onto the pool. Guess that says something about me…
    Sandy P

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