I'm hardly known as particularly outdoorsy or athletic, but deep in my heart I dream of a life full of nature and adventure. I imagine myself being skilled at rock climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, hiking, fly fishing, canoeing, snow shoeing, camping, and other such activities. I fantasize about being one of those women who can pull her hair back into a loose ponytail, throw on a tank top, river pants, and a pair of sandals, and look beautiful and confident in her own skin. I want the freckles and tiny lines that come from summers spent playing in the sun and water. I long to experience the wonders of the earth, the sea, and the sky. I dream of traveling to exotic and remote locales where I can commune with nature and the locals. In short, I want to live my life more fully, with less fear and doubt and with more of a sense of wonderment and awe.
To this end, I have decided to challenge myself to experience more, to face my fears, and to expand my ideas of what I can do. In August, I am hoping to attend a women's wilderness retreat in Colorado. If my financial situation will allow, I will spend four days in the outdoors, connecting with others, hiking, journaling, climbing and rappelling, taking in the vistas and enjoying a little quiet introspection. I may even decide to spend a night alone in the wilderness to assure myself that I can stand on my own when needed.
I am also going to pursue a SCUBA certification. Three years ago, I won an introductory class in scuba from a silent auction. I never redeemed it. Of course, I intend to find out if the dive center will still honor the certificate, but even if they won't, I am going to take the classes. I have always wanted to scuba, but have allowed my claustrophobia, poor self-image, and doubt to get in the way. A snorkeling excursion in the Bahamas in the mid-1990's reignited my wonder at the world below the water, and my experiences in Tahiti in 1999 solidified it. I've scratched the surface, so to speak, and I'm ready to go deeper.
While scuba diving in a quarry in Connecticut has its draws, I have bigger hopes for myself. I want to dive the wrecks off the coast of the Carolinas. I want to go far below the surface of the Great Lakes. I want to dive in the warm waters of the Florida Keys. I want to swim in the Blue Hole of Belize, visit the Great Barrier Reef off Australia, and explore the waters of Thailand, Fiji, Micronesia, Vanuatu, Indonesia, and the Maldives.
I don't know if I'll ever have the money to experience the world in the way that I want to, but I'm hoping that it won't be too much of an obstacle. For now, though, I've submitted an entry into a contest that would make a trip to one dream diving destination a reality. I'm hoping like hell that I'll be chosen, but even if I'm not, I'll do what I can to visit that destination as soon as possible. Step one on that journey comes without financial cost. It involves simply opening my mind to possibilities and changing my perspective on myself.
From now on, I will allow myself to be the adventurer that I dream of being. I will learn what I need to (what I want to) and I will seek out opportunities to put my learning into practice. I will re-frame how I see myself. I will no longer define myself by what I cannot do. I will not allow fears, excuses, or uncertainty to get in my way of doing what I want to do. I will appreciate the beauty that is around me every day. I will play as much as possible. I will laugh more, smile more, see more, taste more, climb, jump, run, and skip more. I will live my life more.