I attended a marine biology camp during the summer after my sophomore year of high school. I had always loved ocean things. I had a fish-covered duvet cover. I had beautiful underwater life prints covering my bedroom walls. I adored “The Little Mermaid” and can still sing every single song from that movie. I was a “fish” and “underwater” girl. But not to eat. Never to eat. (I still refuse to eat any seafood).
During that camp I met a BFF. We became so close that every few months for the next two years, we would take a three-hour train ride to visit each other. We lost contact when we both went to college, and I no longer know where she is, although I occasionally search her name on Facebook. Just in case. My BFF and I resolved during that week that we would become marine biologists. As far as I know, she stuck to that pledge. I wrote that as my intended major for every college application. I almost attended a California university with a fabulous marine biology program. I wonder what life would look like now if I had attended. Instead, I ended up choosing a prestigious East coast university with an “aquatic biology” concentration option.
After my freshman year of college, I became SCUBA certified. In the Caribbean. It was warm there.
I took the few classes offered to undergraduates in marine sciences. But ultimately, when I decided to also get my teaching certification, I had to drop the aquatic biology major. It required hundreds of hours of research, which I did not have time to do if I was also going to be doing hundreds of hours of student teaching. It was a really hard decision for me to make to change from Aquatic Biology to Biology. I felt like I had lost part of my identity. I was destined to be a marine biologist. My family knew it. My friends knew it. I knew it. But then… I didn’t.
Fast forward twenty-ish years. My family and I are enjoying our annual beach trip before school starts. It is cold. I am wearing several layers of clothes. I refuse to even take my shoes off in the sand for fear of freezing my feet. I took a three mile beach walk early this morning and I loved it. But I no longer have the same affection or awe that I once had towards the beach. I don’t like being cold (I have never been SCUBA diving since my Caribbean certification). I still don’t eat any seafood. I am not overly fond of boating. I love to look in tide pools, but not touch (I have a sensory issue to slimy things.).
Maybe if I lived somewhere with a warm beach and warm water I would feel differently. But for now, I look back at that decision in college to change my major and I am relieved. I dodged a major bullet.
I love the beach. From a distance. While looking through the windows of the awesome condo we are renting. Thank you Lord for life-altering decisions that are hard to make, but later make all the difference.