Fitness Corner: Appreciation through absence

Pritam Potts

When I was growing up, all I ever wanted was a pool. I was obsessed with pools. The most exciting thing in the world for me was when my grandmother would come to visit from England and stay at a hotel with a pool. My sister and I would be in that pool all day every day, no exaggeration.

Despite growing up in San Diego, none of our neighborhood friends had a pool. Right now you’re thinking, San Diego? What about the beach? Nope, no comparison to a pool, my 10-year-old self is saying!

There was one exception, however, and it was a big one. Bill Walton (the basketball legend) and his family lived down at the end of our neighborhood, and they had a huge glorious pool. Sometimes we got to go down and swim in it. Being that young, I really didn’t have a clue about who Bill Walton was, but I knew a good pool when I saw it! (Years later, beside that same pool, my dad and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead reunited after 25 years, and I got to meet Jerry and Bob Weir . . . but that is another story.)

So, when my husband and I relocated to Dallas from Edmonds, knowing of the hot summers that awaited us, we both agreed we would not compromise—we prioritized a home with a pool.

We got our pool. Yay!

It turns out that pools are quite a big expenditure of time, energy and money, something you don’t think about as a kid. Nor was it something we thought much about prior to becoming pool owners. But if we were going to take the huge step to leave our Edmonds home, we had to make sure we would give ourselves every opportunity to enjoy it here. This decision has paid off.

I love my pool time! It’s a joy for me to step outside and take a few moments to sit in the sun or shade, dip in the pool, and appreciate the light and warmth. This summer especially, after my accident, it became a place of peace and normalcy, which felt far away from my frustration and limitations.

I don’t visit my pool every day, but I do it as often as possible as the weather allows. The climate here allows me to enjoy this pool month after glorious month in the warmer part of the year. When I’m not in it, I’m admiring the view out my back window. (What can I say, simply seeing a pool lifts my spirits.) It’s my very happy place.

As I write this, I am looking at our pool . . . it reminds me a little bit of the Walton pool, actually (although theirs was bigger, and we definitely don’t have a waterslide). I know my pool time is waning, despite our high temperatures sitting solidly in the 90-degree range. (If you’re reading this while sitting there in 60-degree Edmonds, laughing hysterically, I understand!) But I can assure you . . . the water — and the shade — has taken on an undeniable tinge of cool — subtle, but present. After all of those years in the Pacific Northwest, I am still dialed in to the onset of autumn, and I can feel it coming in my bones.

I shall miss my pool time. But I am ready to enter into a period of pool deprivation. It’s so easy to become complacent about something that’s available to you all the time, without restriction. The absence of something you love generates greater appreciation for that thing, and more excitement about it when it is time to reunite.

I never want to lose my childlike joy and excitement around pools. Taking the winter off ensures that I never will.

Yet I wonder . . . whatever shall I do in the winter months?

Perhaps it is time to embrace, once again, my hot tub. Did I mention our pool has an attached hot tub? Did I mention I was obsessed with hot tubs when I was young, second only to pools? When I was in high school, my dad rigged up a redwood hot tub on our back deck and it felt like the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me! I do find it thrilling to step out of the house into a cold dark winter night, and then sink into glorious warmth that heats to the core.

I remain amazed at how much there is in life for which to be grateful, and more importantly, enjoy. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, as the old saying goes, even better. I shall, to the best of my human ability, never ever take any of it for granted.

— By Pritam Potts

Coach Pritam Potts is a writer and strength coach. After 16-plus years of training athletes and clients of all ages as co-owner of Edmonds-based Advanced Athlete LLC, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. She writes about health & fitness, grief & loss, love & life at and

  1. How about embracing wonderful Lynnwood Pool? It’s a great facility that people drive past other public pools to use. It has multiple water features, plus a sauna and two hot tubs.

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