Back in 8th grade, my parents and I were living on the beautiful tiny island Saipan; not only did we live on an island in the Pacific, we also lived right across the street from the beach, and rented an apartment right above a scuba diving shop.
Dad and I had some amazing adventures and made incredible memories on our spontaneous hikes, weekend snorkeling expeditions, and some occasional midnight fishing trips to the famous Banzai cliff. It was the best of times. But, I always craved for more.
Seeing the scuba divers come in and out of the diving shop every day, my desires and imagination stirred — maybe I could go diving one day. Then, my best friend started scuba diving with her dad; NOW, I really needed to learn. How cool would that be, going diving with your best friend! Not many junior high girls would prefer diving over shopping…tis life on the island.
I convinced my parents. Dad and I marched down to the diving shop and signed up for our first “discovery dive.” Not sure what my parents had in mind… maybe they thought it was one of those phases teenagers go through… did they anticipate what was to come?
The discovery dive did exactly what it was intended to do: giving us a taste of the real thing. Dad discovered that although he’s great at snorkeling, he is not made for the ocean. I, on the other hand, thrived on breathing through a regulator and coursing my way through the Pacific currents. The discovery dive led me to an open water certificate, then an advanced open water certificate. I spent countless hours studying about scuba diving, practicing all the safety exercises in the pool, then finally diving every weekend; I was practically living in the ocean.
Looking back, I see how spoiled I was. My parents must have spent so much money for that hobby of mine. No, I did not grow up to become a scuba diving instructor, and no I don’t live on an island now with the luxuries of diving every weekend, but I believe the money and time were well spent. I have seen amazing underwater creatures, the famous sunken WWII B-29 bomber, and found my favorite diving spots; yet mingled with the fond memories, I also have experienced unpleasant dives, and even, once, a near death experience. But through it all, the incredible experiences I had and invaluable skills I gained influentially shaped who I am.
Life is full of discovery dives, good and bad ones. We may not know how one small event may lead to another, how a fun hobby may blossom into a career, and one small step may change the course of our lives, so as we grow and experience life, let’s learn to recognize these first steps as opportunities, embrace them and experience them to the fullest.
I hope to share my “discovery dives” here with you.