I used to be afraid of the ocean. Watching the movie Jaws as a kid messed me up. I couldn’t get into pool without thinking about a shark at least twice. The muscle & tooth of the ocean, the baseline strategy of survival mastered in an organism…the shark. Against me? Not a chance. I was an overweight middle schooler made chubby from ice cream treat hookups from Marcus, the school janitor. I would have been the shark equivalent of an ice cream treat at the time.
I’ve even made a few irrational swim-sprints to shore. I refused to swim in Florida for the duration of our family vacation. My parents couldn’t even get me in a lake.
I didn’t even like going to the pool until I realized girls had these things called bikinis. So, you ask, how’d I get into diving? Well, I don’t often dispense advice to the younger readers of my blog, but here is some advice from a man who dealt with mixed destructive emotions to one who enjoys the offerings of life and existence.
Face your fears. One by one. Learn them intimately. Then, lay waste to them.
I got to a point in my life where I felt socially and professionally debilitated by anxiety. My inner monologue of self doubt and harsh judgment had grown from an occasional comment to a near constant voice that shouted me down from anything I wanted to try.
I made a rational decision to confront and know my fears intimately and to see whether they were worth sacrificing the quality and happiness of my life over. Because nothing less was at stake. That being the case, it would not do to have only one experience or to look at the issue casually.
I was afraid of heights, but I’ve done sport and multipitch rock climbing across the U.S., 60 meter rappels. I got nervous about doing public speaking so I chose a job as a litigator. Approaching women made me nervous too, but I did that anyway and sometimes got a phone number. I feared the ocean and the shark. That is how I got into diving (and shared the waters with a shark once too.)
Nature, it seems, has rewarded me in my many dives with frequent dolphin visits. The two below are trying to play game of soccer with a sea cucumber. They think I am slow. I am in awe.