Keep Calm, or You’ll Miss the Turtles

Last summer I went scuba diving in Cozumel, Mexico. It was extraordinary. I’d never seen a place where you could be 80 feet down and still feel like the surface was right there. However, I unfortunately didn’t get as much opportunity to enjoy the first of the two dives because of my anxiety.

You see, we were diving with currents, which means you get pushed around by forces beyond your control while you’re down there. Now, the current pushes the entire group the same, so all I had to to do was go along for the ride. Yet, I was so incredibly uncomfortable with the prospect of being out of control that I kicked and I fought against the current, trying desperately to feel in control while nevertheless ending up exactly where everyone else did. Unfortunately, since I was working so much harder than everyone, I burnt through the air in my tank well before everyone else and me and my dive partner had to be sent to the surface. The group came up a short while later saying they’d seen a sea turtle, which are my favorite. And I’d missed it because I’d panicked.

Talking with the dive master ahead of our second dive, I was able to feel much more comfortable and was able to relax, not burn through my air, and I was able to stay down as long as the rest of the group. Unfortunately no turtles this time.

I hold on to this moment because it is such a good lesson for me: keep calm, or you’ll miss the turtles. Life, much like the waters off Cozumel, has currents and forces that impact me, but are beyond my control. These are some of the things that give me anxiety. I worry about them. I fight for ways to control them, only to end up exactly where I was meant to be. And in the process I’m sure I’ve missed a great deal.

I will go diving again. I will find the turtles that I’ve missed. I mean not the same turtle because the odds of that are astrological, but other turtles. It is probably obvious that I didn’t mean the exact same turtle, but you just never know these days. Anyways. In the meantime, when the currents of life make me feel out of control, I just have to remember to keep calm. Or I’ll miss the turtles.

P.S. One of the other divers on the trip, you know one of the ones that didn’t get anxious, got a great shot of the turtle and very graciously shared it with me. I don’t remember her name, but wherever she is thank you for this great picture.

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