I stood on the rock, in Antarctica, wearing nothing but a swimming costume, goggles and a cap, ready to dive into the ice. The water was 0°C so was the air. I have never done this before, and I had no idea what the outcome will be. Will I panic? Cardiac reaction? Have I come all this way, trained and invested so much money to dive in and flop with fear or incompetence? It was time, I counted to three and dived in and started swimming. I was alive, more alive than I have ever been in my life. Stroking up and down the little channel we made in the frozen glacial lake. “I am swimming in Antarctica.” I smiled to myself while focusing on the extreme sensation in my fingers and toes. I was fine, more than fine, I was alive! I never expected life to turn out as it did. I am still looking forward wondering what will happen next. Growing up in a small Kibbutz by the Sea of Galilei, with the paradox of tranquil sea and farming life together with the constant shelling from neighbouring Syria and Jordan, straight into our fields, homes and life, was just normal. One minute you play in the field or swim in the sea and next minute you run for your life, heading towards the nearest bunker, hearing the deafening sound of explosions around you.
Life was never meant to be easy for me, I am an uncompromising stubborn and strong-minded person. I spot bullshit from a mile and I like things simple, clear and honest. Things never are. I don’t give up easily, I don’t get scared easily and I don’t stop when I believe I am right. Life for me was and probably still is, at 63 years old, a journey of unexpected extremes. Regrets, I have a few, we all do. Would I do it all over again the same? Certainly not, I am not stupid, and I hope I would learn from my mistakes. Yet, I wake up every day, looking forward, appreciating the sea, the wave, the smell, the sound and feeling of water on my skin.