When I was 13 I tried scuba diving whilst on holiday.
I was captivated. It was unlike anything else I’d ever done. I probably didn’t look very graceful but there was a unique freedom in being able to breath and move underwater.
Over the next 10 years I dived all over the world. From that first experience to dolphins in the Red Sea via a murky quarry in Leicestershire, manta rays in the Maldives, the Great Barrier Reef and many places besides, I got to share a world completely alien from my own understanding.
One place stood out above the rest. The cenotes and caves of Quintana Roo, Mexico. I got a taste diving the caverns and daylight zone but knew that I wanted more. I wanted to go deeper. Further into the caves, outside the reaches of the sun.
So I returned, completed the requisite training, and got the opportunity to find out what cave diving was like. It was beyond what I could ever have imagined whilst kneeling on the bottom of a swimming pool. It represented the culmination of years spent immersed in diving. After the course I did 20 more dives in Mexico, scratching the surface of the vast cave systems there.
That was 3 years ago. I haven’t dived since.
I had pushed the envelope. Initially I was keen to keep pushing. But over time that waned. The commitment required didn’t appeal to me.
Often we find ourselves pursuing something just because we used to want it. Overly identifying with a past version of ourselves, a past bucket list of goals to acheive.
When you find something you want to explore, give yourself permission to go all in. For that period of my life, diving was the thing. But once it stops helping you to grow, stops taking you in the direction you want your life to go, give yourself permission to move on.
Don’t just follow your passion. Let your passion follow you. Why am I doing this? Is this really what I want to do right now? When you stop committing to something you felt the need to do 5 years ago, now becomes a constantly evolving phenomenon filled with interesting stuff you want to do.
One day I might start diving again. If I did it would be an expression of what was important to me. That’s what matters. It would take a while to get back to where I was before but that doesn’t worry me.
It’s about the journey, not the destination.