Personal Stories

Open Eyes

17 months ago I did something I wanted to do for a very long time in my life: I traveled to Thailand and went scuba diving.

Even though I have admired the ocean and its creatures since childhood, this was the first time I could actually dive down below the water surface. I live in a land-locked area and didn‘t grow up around the ocean so I haven’t been able to spend a lot of time by or in the water. But the moment the water surface closed over my head I suddenly became part of the world that I only knew from pictures and screens until then.

17 months ago I didn’t believe I could ever accomplish something like becoming a diver. 17 months ago I threw myself into it and it changed my life. It didn’t change in the sense that something completely new was created, the change was rather that I could see myself again as I have always been. I’ve always had an obsession with marine life. Whales, sharks, rays, and almost every other creature of the water are my companions through life for as long as I can remember.

17 months ago, this part of myself surfaced again and all it took was a single breath through a regulator and the turquoise blue world of the Andaman Sea around me.

I spend the following year exploring my recovered passion. A lot of the things I read were about the devastating treatment of our waters and the creatures which inhabit them, showcasing the immense ignorance of the fact that human life depends on healthy waters – healthy above and below the surface. It’s easy to ignore that fact when you can’t see the terrifying impact of the absurd amount of useless waste we produce and afterward toss it away so easily. Did you ever ask yourself where it all goes or who pays the price for clean streets and squares? I hadn’t asked myself that thoroughly enough for far too long. Just as easy as it is to not see what we leave behind, is not to see what we take. We destroy the earth we walk on, we pollute the air we breathe, we contaminate the waters our lives depend on and we kill our fellow species in such senseless and brutal ways. Here comes the point where it becomes personal to me. Seeing the world I love so much vanishing before my eyes, simply because of human action made me reevaluate my own priorities.

I’ve been working constantly for over 16 years now, fought my way through years of financing education and livelihood by myself, and had a thousand jobs just to keep my head over water. After all these years I finally got a decently paid and secure job, but the only thing that changed was that now there was more money to buy stuff. The hamster wheel had blinded me after all these years to what I had once loved so much and what was so important to me. 17 months ago I opened my eyes behind a diving mask and started seeing again. Since then I look at and evaluate all the things that make up my everyday life and realize that much of it has no real meaning to me. So now I’ve started getting rid of it and figuring out what I can do to live the life I want to live. For now, I don’t know where I will go or what I can do but I know for sure that I will head towards water. I know for sure that I want to be surrounded by the creatures of the sea and in the best case can show their beauty, importance, and endangerment in some kind of way to others. I know for sure that I will not let my life be restricted anymore by predetermined ways of living and the accumulation of useless possessions.

So for now this is the plan, now I have to take care of the realization. Since I am not a very consistent person, I start this blog experiment. It is to motivate me in the upcoming year to report about my successes and setbacks and to document my journey to a life with less boundaries and more ocean.

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