As part of my 40th birthday celebrations I signed up for a PADI Open Water Diver course. I was inspired by several close friends who have been diving for many years. Also, I didn’t want a piece of jewellery, a watch or a handbag, I wanted a new experience. My reasons for taking up scuba diving, not exactly an easy or riskless activity, went beyond turning 40.
- I needed new hobbies. After years of work and parenting I finally did something for myself and it felt amazing!
- I wanted to invest in an activity that I can enjoy in my senior years. There is no upper age limit for diving, assuming one is in general good health and has a physically active lifestyle. Stan Waterman an avid diver and pioneer of underwater film and photography retired at age 90. Jacques Cousteau dove nearly every day until his death at age 87.
- It was time to push my physical and mental limits and do something that scared me. And trust me, jumping off into deep water strapped with weights, purposely descending deeper into water, and breathing through the mouth goes against every natural human instinct.
- Enjoy the incredible underwater sights – the coral wall, the school of sardines, the giant clam, the hidden octopus, and the numerous angel fish and butterfly fish going about their day.
- I love stories. When you are on bus or a boat trying to get to a dive site with a group of strangers, it is inevitable that stories will follow the introductions. In that brief period, you share a connection with people from different parts of the world, people you are most likely never to meet again.
- Set an example for the kids that they can learn and enjoy new things at any age. My kids joined me on the boat for one of my dives and when they saw me suited up, do a back roll into the water and then disappear under the water, I know it made an impression. Both the kids are intrepid snorkelers and I can’t wait to sign them up for the youth scuba diving course when they reach the appropriate age.
- My family loves beach vacations. Now I have a new way to enjoy the oceans, it makes the travel experience so much richer.
- Diving is an activity I can share with my best friend who got her diving certification many years ago. Now we routinely share information on liveaboards in Indonesia and Thailand, longing for the day when our kids are old enough for us to go off the grid for 7 to 10 days.
- Truly understand ocean conservation. Until I completed my first dive, “save the oceans” was just a phrase. Now I truly get the importance of educating myself and my family about changing our daily habits. Reduce, reuse and recycle!
- Feel one with the universe – forget about the issues and struggles of daily life and feel like you are part of something so much bigger than yourself.
Shit happens. On Tuesday night I was supposed to flying to Prague for a 6-day holiday with my two oldest and dearest friends. This plan, a celebration of our entrance into our 40s, had taken two years of planning and hoping. Instead of checking in for my flight, I was at the airline counter canceling my flight. My husband had to fly to Mumbai to attend to his hospitalized mother leaving no one to care for our kids, so I had to cancel my plans. As I said, shit happens.
I spent the next two days feeling out of place. It was unreal; I was supposed to be in Prague eating tredlnik and drinking pilsner beers and not packing school lunches and arguing with grumpy 7-year olds. As my friends posted pictures of their Prague experiences, I felt their restraint. My husband promised a holiday in Europe soon. But it is not the holiday or the city that is important, it is the time spent with friends. The time to make new memories and share experiences that keep decades-old friendships going. What I felt is a sense of loss. And this feeling of just plain sadness was a new experience and I needed to learn some coping mechanisms quickly. I guess this is what I have to look forward to in my 40s – acknowledging my emotions and finding healthy ways to deal with them.
Continue reading “Keep Calm and Keep Writing”
When you are of a certain age, with a certain number of years of marriage under your belt, with children of a certain age, it is inevitable that a certain auntieness will creep in.
Auntieness? Some of you ask me. Some of you know exactly what I mean. Continue reading “Embrace the Auntie”
I love lists. My life is oragnized in lists:
- Daily and weekly to-dos neatly categorized by topic
- Contacts (because who remembers phone numbers anymore?)
- FB friends
- Recipes that I have reviewed and want to cook
- Books I want read
- Playlists on Spotify
- “My List” on Netflix
- Travel bucket list
- Affirmations and intentions
- Wish lists
- The never-ending grocery lists
I also take great pleasure in reading a good list. I recently found a list, written by Dr. Watson describing Sherlock Holmes, that appeared in A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. Can you see the essence of their entire relationship captured in this list? Continue reading “The Pleasure of a Good List”
I did it! I took the leap of faith and asked the kind lady at the cafe to fill up a bowl of green goodness loaded with proteins and various crunchy things and set down to eat breakfast. I have been watching and hearing people eat salad for breakfast and my reaction has always been “good god!” or “yuck!”or something equally childish. Then my fantastic California-based cousin mentioned eating salad for breakfast and my mind started thinking. I love my cousin and think she’s one of the smartest and most amazing women out there. Trying to eat low carb and also kind of vegan gets annoyingly boring very quickly. But once I got over the barriers in my head the rules that said salad is acceptable for lunch and dinner. It wasn’t too hard.
This made me think of the limitations we put on ourselves the ideas we hold dear sometimes not even understanding why and we limit our dreams, our abilities, the joy we could get at this very moment if we just put down the bagel and picked up the salad bowl.
How do you break the habits and patterns? Either you have the self-awareness, the daring do or you have fabulous people in your life who will push you, make you try new stuff and widen your horizons, make your world varied and just a bit richer.
And you thought this post was about salad?
Last year this time we were in Ushuaia as part of our two-week sojourn to southern Patagonia. Today I complete 30 weeks of my pregnancy. My baby is 10 weeks away and I have months of late nights, breastfeeding, poop patrol, diaper changes, loud cries, yawns and sweet smiles to live through but I’m already thinking in terms where I can go on vacation with my baby. I’ve already ruled out a few on my list of places to see. Cambodia (Angkor Wat specifically), South Africa, and Morocco can wait. It doesn’t help that I subscribe to Travel and Leisure, or have a new liking for travel writing or that Chan Brothers advertises in the newspaper every single day or that to top it all Silk Air has set up a reservations office in the lobby of my office building.
How will motherhood affect my wanderlust? Continue reading “Wanderlust and Motherhood”