I hate the water, but I am an Open Water Scuba Diver.

I am terribly uncomfortable in the water. I am a bad swimmer. I don’t float particularly well. I haven’t lived on a coastal area in my life (NYC does not count). I am nervous on boats, nervous on the beach, nervous flying over water, nervous in pools.

One of the most inspirational humans to me, David Goggins, says:

“You grow by testing yourself, by testing your mind to go where it doesn’t want to go. If you take the easy road, you get easy results. You don’t expect anything out of yourself. If you take the hard road, and you make yourself get through it, you will expect more out of your everyday life. If you don’t achieve and let people keep you down, you will stay down. Not me… I choose to get back up. I choose to look the unwanted in the face. I choose to go after the unwanted with a smile. I choose to suffer. And from suffering I grow.”

I agree. And even though I do not like the water, I want to be good in it and at it. So I booked a week long trip to Malta, in order to become an Open Water Diver. This means becoming scuba certified for dives down to 18 meters/60 feet.

The OWD certification is not hard, per se, but not easy either. Most of the scuba learning is how to handle everything that can go wrong while diving. Which is actually very stressful, particularly for someone who is not great in the water, and well, hates it.

Much of the training involves mask problems, buoyancy issues, handling faulty equipment, etc – all while deep underwater. What happens it you run out of air?  What if you cannot equalize the pressure in your head? Can you take off all your equipment while underwater and put it back on again?  It’s not fun. Nonetheless, I did it. I was not great, but I did it. Passed the tests, the stress, didn’t panic, and even had a little fun down under the sea in Malta.

This represented a big step in my quest to conquering water. I will next like to improve my comfort on the surface, becoming a better swimmer, drown-proofing myself, and eventually getting to the level I could do a triathlon.  That may take a while, but I will do it.  In fact, I’ll probably hate every minute of it, but sometimes “I choose to suffer. And from suffering I grow.”