Last year, my family learned how to scuba dive. Along with my husband and our three grown sons, we wanted to learn a new skill — something we could take with us for years to come and enjoy together on future vacations as well.
When catching up with friends and I would tell them what I was learning, every single one immediately told me, “I could never do that.”
All of them had already given themselves permission to not even try.
They wrote off not just my scuba diving experience off, but every other challenge they could have imagined or dreamed.
To them, the idea of doing something hard on purpose seemed unthinkable.
On occasion, I would get asked, “Why are you doing that?” And after listening to my answer, some people were left in bewilderment while others didn’t quite see the attraction to forcing myself to learn a new skill. After all, no one was making me do this.
I will admit that learning to scuba dive was not easy. I have bouts of claustrophobia and have a fear of drowning. Who wouldn’t, right?
When I am nervous or afraid, I become somewhat sarcastic — what some people interpret as “wit.” I’m just keeping it real. That way, no one sees just how scared I really am.
With scuba diving, one of the skills you must be tested on and pass is filling your mask with water while you are underwater and then getting rid of the water in your mask — while you are still underwater. It sounds impossible. I didn’t believe it could be done either. If you are a nose-breather like me, the last thing you want to do is suck all of the water in your mask in through your nose. Although you have your regulator still in your mouth so you can breath, mastering this skill pushed me hard. I even practiced at home so as not to panic in class.
Eventually, the day came when we actually went out onto a small boat into the Gulf of Mexico where I needed to put everything I had learned to the true test. When it was all said and done, we had all completed six dives to depths of 80 feet below the surface, seen numerous sea species, and I for one learned more about myself than I can remember. In addition, I gained a few things as well.
There are five things we gain by doing things that challenge us and might even be considered “unthinkable.” Here they are.