My husband David is a SCUBA diver and one day, while we were on a trip to Colombia, he asked me if I wanted to try it.
“It’s fun,” he said. “It’s a great thing to learn.”
“But I’m not good at mechanical things,” I said. “It looks hard, and dangerous. Besides, I get seasick. And do I have to wear that uncomfortable-looking wetsuit?”
“But it’s so cheap here,” he said. “It’s the best deal you’ll find anywhere. If you don’t like it after the first time, you never have to go again.”
He sure can be convincing, I thought.
The first time I went diving, I threw up repeatedly. After our short lesson I swam to the shore and sat by myself for several hours while the rest of the class got back in the boat and went to another island for a second round.
“I should have known I wouldn’t like it,” I thought. “Why do I do things just to make David happy?
“I’m not a SCUBA diver.
“I’m just a beach girl.”
I thought I knew myself so well.
Still, the next day—probably because we had already paid for four lessons—I agreed to try it again. I got in my gear and boarded the boat, feeling nauseous the whole way. When we got to the spot, I put my tank on and got underwater and did my second lesson.
And I loved it.
I sailed in the water like I didn’t have a body, and did flips and went up and down and looked at things I’ve never seen before.
It was the most fun I’d had in a long time.
After that, I got back on the boat and threw up ten times in a row. I must have been in a good mood, you see, because this time, I counted.
And by the time we got back to shore, I felt even better. My nausea was gone, for one thing, but for another:
I was excited.
I had found a new hobby.
Of course, SCUBA diving isn’t the most practical hobby, and I haven’t had many opportunities to go since. But I learned something very important that day, something that I never forgot:
I learned not to assume that I always know what I like, and who I am.
I may be the person who likes SCUBA diving, or I may not. It doesn’t matter that I don’t think that I will like it or that I don’t know anyone else who likes it. It doesn’t matter that I don’t live near any warm water, even in the middle of the summer, or that boats have made me nauseous ever since I can remember.
I might like it anyway.
I might not be the person I always thought that I was.
I might be someone else entirely.