One Down, More to Go!
According to the Urban Dictionary, a “Bucket List” is a list of things to be done before one dies, and is derived from the term Kicked the Bucket. We all have this propensity to look back on our lives and say “I wish I would have done this or that!” Today, most of us have a Bucket List. Some of us act on it with determination while others just stare at it and dream.
For me, over the last few years, I have been fortunate to cross some things off the list (major ones), and I have become even more determined than ever to eliminate even more. Here are my most recent major accomplishments.
- Early retirement (2013)
- Retire in the tropics (2013)
- Live in the Philippines (2013)
- Return to Guam (2014)
- Learn to dive (2017)
I agree that the first three on that list are sort of related, but planned for and accomplished nonetheless. I guess I can give much credit to the U.S. Navy’s training programs for helping me learn how to set goals, both short-term and long-term, early on and over the course of my career. I have been fortunate in life to be able to control my own destiny, which I completely understand for others seems like an impossible task. I believe that everyone is in control of their own destiny, and one must just keep plugging along and stay focused to fulfill their dreams. Destiny can be defined two ways – 1) the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future, by design, or 2) as fate; the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future. I’d like to think I have always been in control, with only a few bumps here and a few strays from the path there.
Have I ever lost my focus? Absolutely… we all do from time to time, and being able to recognize it and get re-focused is key. Sometime though, life can get in the way. My latest bucket list achievement only took me some 42 years to accomplish.
When I was first assigned to work at the Navy’s Fleet Weather Center on Guam in 1974, I dove right in… literally! I mean I grew up between a corn field and bean field, and now I was living My Enchantment! When I was not at work, and while most guys would sit around the barracks and complain about having nothing to do, I quickly crashed out of that party. One of the first things I did was to buy a motorcycle for transportation. The next thing I did was attach my new snorkel gear to the bike and away I would go, exploring the beautiful turquoise waters of Guam on my own. Occasionally, I could muster up a friend or two and we would head to the water. I did a lot of snorkeling, free-diving, some spear-fishing, and a lot of fishing. Much of my time in those early days were spent on or in the water. Back then, I always wanted to learn how to dive, but I was just too busy!
I have visited Guam 3 times in the last 4 years, and now I am here for the long-term (read my post Return to Guam). While I am here for the time being without my bride, I have the freedom to stay busy, when and how I choose. (Bachelorhood can be beneficial when applied effectively.) So, rather than sit around and wait for the wife to arrive, I decided to finally take advantage of all my free time and learn to dive.
At the Marianas Dive Association (MDA) here on Guam, for a nominal cost of $199, I received my classroom instruction, one confined pool dive, four open water instructional dives, a recreational dive, and one boat dive to come later (at the time of my choosing). Hence, I am now (finally) an Open Water Diver, certified by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI). What does that mean? It means I still have to pay full price at most coffee shops for a cup of coffee, but I can now enjoy the watery world below, and go deeper than ever before. For me, scuba delivers adrenaline and intensity, and serenity and peace. No other environment on this planet approaches the abundance and diversity of pristine coral reefs, and the intriguing life that abounds below the surface.
So, while I have crossed one more thing off my bucket list, I can only say this… know where you are going, know where you want to be – just stay determined and focused, and you will find yourself crossing [whatever that may be] off of your bucket list.
During the course of 4 open water dives and most notably, in addition to viewing thousands of beautiful reef fish, I have seen a large Sea Turtle, a Lionfish, and a small Black Tip shark. For me, the adventure continues.