I was thrown off a pier into the lake near my summer house when I was four years old. The rest is history! I spent so much time in the water that the skin all over my body wrinkled up resembling the raisings I snacked on as a kid. For years, I swam competitively with dreams and hopes of swimming in college and beyond. Then, I was diagnosed with bone cancer and after multiple unsuccessful reconstructive surgeries, swimming became nothing more than a summertime hobby. I even spent two years without the ability to go into the water past my ankles and water became a sensitive topic. So, how can something that brought me so much agony as a young adult, now bring me incredible joy? I learned to find a comfortable solitude underwater and perhaps my constant longing for a beachy getaway is deeply rooted in my childhood aspirations. You see, when I put on a swimsuit or wetsuit, I forget about my injury and my scars – there’s nothing quite like the feeling of seeing a plethora of fish swimming your way from an immeasurable underwater world. The faint sound of fish nibbling on the reefs as you get lost in the other 70% of the Earth’s surface. All of a sudden you recognize how small your problems are … how foolish your insecurities may be … and how spectacular life is.

PADI Women’s Dive Day!

If you can relate to my relationship with water in any way, then I encourage you to add diving to your personal development agenda. PADI (The Professional Association of Diving Instructors) is the world’s largest and leading scuba diver training organization and tomorrow is Women’s Dive Day. Women’s Dive Day is a day on which men and women alike celebrate and empower women in diving. Historically, scuba diving has been perceived as a “men’s sport,” and to challenge that notion, PADI created Women’s Dive Day to empower women in diving and inspire ladies of all ages to participate. With more than a thousand exciting events like cocktail parties and dive cruises, PADI is bringing together a global community of divers that unite in 100 countries around the world! In the last four years, since the first Women’s Dive Day, PADI has witnessed a reduction in the gender gap in dive certifications by nearly four percent. To add some context, PADI has more than 6,500 PADI Dive Centers and Resorts, and more than 135,000 individual PADI Professionals who have issued more than 25 million certifications around the world.

To me the greatest benefit of diving is its contribution to my personal development. The deep pockets of our ocean provide me with a fresh perspective on life that evolves with every dive. Scientists believe that water makes you feel like you are back in your mother’s womb, therefore giving you a sense of security and well-being. Constantly moving around in the water is also a terrific source of exercise, and other health benefits, such as better breathing and lower blood pressure, can be added onto the list of reasons to make a splash. Finally, being surrounded by marine life floods my body with excitement and awe – no pun intended!

On a larger scale, diving also makes a tremendous impact on environmental responsibility. With millions of people already certified, you can join a growing force that wants to preserve the vast underwater world. PADI courses encompass environmental awareness and protection philosophies that emphasize the importance of protecting fragile aquatic ecosystems.* Plus, diving will no longer be as awe-inspiring if we don’t preserve a healthy ocean. In fact, on my most recent vacation, I planted corals at the property in an effort to join in committing to biodiversity conservation.

By becoming PADI scuba certified, you are committing to a lifetime of rewarding experiences, in and out of the water. You are committing to fostering lasting relationships and opening the golden gates to thousands of destinations across the globe that you surely won’t want to miss. And finally, by joining the PADI diving community, you are committing to giving future generations the ability to experience all the incredible things the underwater world has given to us … and the ability to find peace and solitude after overcoming tough obstacles. I hope this inspires you to join the movement! #PADIWomen

To find local Women’s Dive Day events near you, visit www.padi.com/events