Time to Grow a Pair of Pills

Scuba and me haven’t been friends. In fact, we’ve been kinda cool with each other.

Scuba, for me, has been like that annoying co-worker who you’ve had to work on a long-term project with. They annoy you, and you want nothing to do with them, but you have to just suck it up, hold your breath, and try to get through it. You tuck your tail, and just try to get along, letting your huevos sit on the sideline.

This is all very surprising when you consider that when I was younger, I was very brave, even downright reckless. I’d try anything, go anywhere, wear whatever. Move to London for six months with no job and without a dime to my name? Sounds awesome. When that doesn’t work out, move to Pittsburgh, again, with no money and no job? Well, what else would I be doing? When THAT doesn’t work out, move to Austin, again, with no money and no job? Hmmm, that’s ok, at least I know someone there and I can couch surf until I get a job. Go to Seattle for an internship with no place to live and without knowing a soul (and again, without a dime in savings)? Yep, sign me up. Mosh pits? Hellz yeah.

I am a girl, who, after all, has the Chinese symbol for free spirit tattooed on her neck.

I did a lot of foolish things when I was younger.

But, as I (and my bank account) got older and more established, I’d found myself growing more and more risk adverse. Don’t drive so fast on wet roads. Use the handrails on the escalators. Make sure you go to the bathroom before leaving the house/restaurant/work. Does that music have to be so loud?

Boring stuff.

But then, about a year ago, while planning this birthday trip, my de facto (that’s apparently a term here in Australia similar to spousal equivalent, or live-in-boyfriend. I saw it in a couple of stories on the news) XFE pointed out that a trip to Australia would not be complete without going to the Great Barrier Reef. And not just snorkeling in GBR (which, to be fair, would have been just fine and still incredible for anyone who wants to do that). But XFE wanted to go scuba diving.

I had never had any desire whatsoever to scuba dive. I was of the opinion that if we were meant to breath underwater, we’d have been born with gills. However, XFE’s logic and his suggestion continued to gnaw at me.

I have a history of accidents. The kind of accidents that require stitches (XFE calls them “Poe-tastrophies.”) And there seems to be so much that could go wrong with scuba diving. But I knew that if I didn’t at least try, I’d be disappointing not just myself, but XFE, who is always, much braver than I am.

Despite the fact that we took the required courses and got certified, I went into this trip still hesitant about scuba diving. There were times when I’ve been scuba diving and was actually relieved that I ran out of air (always before everyone else) and could go back to the surface.

But this trip has changed me. I’m not to the point where I’m sad that the diving has ended, per se, but there are periods of absolute peace where I’m floating and looking around and am in total awe of the beauty and diversity in front of me. And I slow down, and enjoy. Which doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s pretty magical.

The pictures couldn’t possibly do it justice. And neither do words. But anyone who’s been there knows what I’m talking about. And those who, like me, were on the fence, you need to go ahead and jump in. The water is more than fine.

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