I don’t know what it is, but I like to challenge myself often. I remember my therapist’s words on the last day of my physical therapy, “Never stop challenging your balance”. I find myself challenging more than just my balance though. I like to test the limits of my now limited physical abilities, my new normal.
Last year I took up SCUBA diving. It is something that I have always wanted to try, but for some reason just never did. I have found that since my surgery I have a greater sense of urgency when it comes to experiencing life. No longer do I say, “well maybe next year”. There is no next year. By the time they discovered my tumor, it had grown so large and had pushed my brain stem over so much that I very likely could have died. I could very well die in a car accident tomorrow. Life is too short and precious to not live everyday as if it were your last.
So I took up SCUBA diving because again, it is something that I have always wanted to do; and because many people said I could not do it. I have to admit though, I was pretty nervous doing my first ocean dives. This was uncharted territory for me. Would I be able to equalize my ears? If not that would mean hundreds of dollars down the drain and my hopes shattered. You cannot imagine my elation when I felt that first “pop”. And as I drifted further and further down I found myself thinking, “wow, I’m really doing this!!”. Now a whole other world has been opened up to me; and I could not be happier.
I now have 20 dives under my belt, and I hope to double that in the coming year. I have also dived as deep as 80 feet, and perhaps will dive as deep as 100 feet someday. My current certification, Advanced Open Water, allows me to go down to 130 feet. There really is no need to go down that deep though, most of the really cool stuff to see is in the 40-80 foot range. Some of my dives in the video below were even as shallow as 20 feet.
My last SCUBA diving destination was a liveaboard trip to Catalina Island, CA. A liveaboard trip is exactly what it sounds like, you live on a boat for a set amount of time with other divers. We dived morning and night at several sites all around Catalina Island. It was a great experience, but not without its difficulties. I had never stayed overnight on a boat since my surgery before this trip. Let me tell you that it can be pretty challenging when you have a vestibular disorder. I am just glad that I do not get vertigo like some people do. It was a good challenge for my balance though, and I am happy to say that I did not fall down once.
I am excited to see where this new hobby will take me. I already have a trip to Cabo Pulmo Marine Preserve in Mexico planned for later this year, and possibly another liveaboard trip to the Bahamas next year. And who knows, I may take up another hobby that pushes my limits.