Today I had a reality check. And a reminder of the powerful most magical life lessons, that are hidden in tiniest moments.
Here in paradise, all my daughter and I do is snorkel, all day, every day.
As soon as we wake up, we throw on our bikinis, masks and snorkels, step out into the hot sunshine out back and jump into the aquamarine water. The fresh water is my coffee.
We stay out all day, and I mean all day, swimming and snorkeling together, exploring life, discovering the amazing underworld, identifying new fish, flowing with the current, holding hands and giving each other “okay” buddy signs. We watch the sun rays shine through, the crystallized particles glisten—and we are together, in nature, in peace, being free. Learning, sharing, growing, seeing and feeling, together. It is the most amazing thing.
Now my daughter can do this by herself too, she is such an island girl. She goes out alone, never fearful, never tiring, and always equally excited.
Today at the beach I heard some girls talking at the shore, watching me, and making some comments. I usually tune the tourists out as I do my thing, but today I listened because something caught my attention.
“Well, I would snorkel, but I don’t want to ruin my hair.”
I thought about this for a second and went on with my life, strapping my mask on and getting the snorkel in place. Off I went, straight out and then veering to the left, toward the submerged rock that always attracts the best combinations of beautiful sea life. My “go to” rock.
I popped my snorkel out, took a few deep breaths and headed down for a free dive.
As I free dove to my rock, I noticed the ocean above start surging. A swell came, and it lifted the gelatin-clear water uuuup and downnn, rolling in waves, and then it stopped and was back to completely placid. The sun rays glistened through the water like the longest, most beautiful beaming lights of heaven, so angelic. I had a moment of total overwhelming surrender and amazement at the beauty and incredible nature of it all, and gratitude for noticing this beauty, and for appreciating it.
Then I thought about that girl on the beach, who didn’t want to get her hair wet, and I felt so bad for her.
At that moment, amidst such an amazing setting, I felt bad for the life she was missing out on because she didn’t want to get her hair wet: a prisoner to things “in place,” a prisoner to a comfort zone and beauty and image, ignorance even. She was living through fear, afraid to look wet, and natural, and happy. Scared to be free, scared to experience, take chances, make mistakes, embrace, scared to love and flow, see and feel happiness; scared to do, scared to live.
Look how much she misses out on, I thought. I can’t imagine never seeing all of this. Never having these moments, never surrendering to nature, never experiencing freedom, and beauty, never doing, dreaming, or really just, living.
But, you know what? She probably doesn’t even know. She probably has no idea what is out here, under here. She is missing life, and it is right before her very eyes, passing her by, and picking up others who are ready to get wet.
I get my hair wet every day. It even gets all tangled up in the snorkel strap, every damn time. I rip more hair out each time I am done snorkeling and remove my mask, but i don’t care. When it’s all tangled up like that I don’t get mad. Instead i smile, knowing what I have just seen and felt, happy to be paying the sacrifice of some ripped off strands of hair in exchange for freedom, dreams, self-discovery, challenge, experience, and life.
In getting my hair wet, I live.
The more I do, and the more chances I take and dreams I pursue, I free myself and allow myself to be a part of the world. I don’t hide behind a hairdo; I mess it all up on purpose, and the wetter and messier it is from the turquoise sea, it means the longer I have been immersed in it, and the more I have seen, and the more I understand.
I take off that mask and walk ashore under the blazing Mexican sun, thankful that life isn’t passing me by, my hair completely, dripping, sopping wet, and accompanied by a magnificent smile.
Don’t be the girl who is afraid to get her hair wet.
1. Seize the moment. This moment will never be this moment again. You will never get this exact chance again. Life is all about times and places, and the universe lining up. Remember that.
2. No excuses. Think about all the reasons you should live the moment, not all the reasons you shouldn’t. Excuses only hurt ourselves. Our excuses are our fears that are holding us back from living. Is sitting on the beach with a nice hairdo really going to amount to anything? In comparison, think of all you have to gain from snorkeling. Weigh the situation.
3. Get dirty. Figuratively and literally speaking, life moments that involve dirt are the most memorable, because we are engaged, and affected; because we are feeling, not just watching. Don’t be afraid to get dirty. The dirtier the better, the greater the experience, and the stronger the lesson. Sitting on the beach watching life is limited in its life lessons. Submerging and exploring another side of a planet is unforgettable.
4. Don’t worry what others think. This is your life, and these are your moments, not anyone else’s. Looking and saying and doing what pleases or impresses others rather than taking advantage of moments for yourself is a waste of time. Because at the end of the day it’s you you go home with. Its you you have to answer to as to why you didn’t go snorkeling but instead had perfect hair and makeup for the day. Live your own life.
5. Be brave. Free yourself. “Life begins outside of our comfort zone.” This is so true. We learn about ourselves when we are challenged. We understand things when we explore. We are grateful for things when we don’t have. Be brave and try new things. Be brave and get wet. Be brave, be free, and be you.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Used with permission from Tiger Aguilar, Cozumel