Did you see the bull shark?

Did you see the bull shark?

“Did you see the bull shark?”

Let me give you some context.

I’m going through a stressful period in my business life.

I have been stressing about it for months has kept me up at night.  The whole situation has put my family in a precarious place financially when I thought that the time of being in precarious places financially was behind me.  But something recently happened that has changed my perspective a bit.

A few weeks ago, I joined my wife on her final day of PADI training as she was getting her open water certification.

I had gotten certified almost 20 years ago but had only about 10 dives to my name, so while I technically did not need to stay with them on my dive I was not experienced enough to feel comfortable straying from the pack.

The dive spot was beautiful.

It was a reef just off the coast of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. The water was so clear you could see all the way to the bottom. It just looked like you were wearing some fancy turquoise-tinted glasses that only fashion models can pull off in real life.

I was the first in the water, followed by my wife’s dive instructor and shortly after my wife. She had to do some drills of putting on her BCD (the jacket – buoyancy control device – that fills with air as you dive) while in the water.

Right before she dove in, the captain of the dive ship told her something and I noticed her tense up like she does when she hears something stressful.

Most others would not have noticed but we have been married over 15 years and together 17, and we are at the point that if she sneezes I can pretty much tell what she had for breakfast by the trajectory and color of the snot that comes.

Is that romantic, or disturbing? You decide.

The moment passes and she jumps in the water and puts her BCD on like a pro.

We then start descending to about 13 meters (about 25 feet for fellow gringos). As we descend, I see she is still tense and stressed.

When we reach the bottom, she starts focusing on what she is supposed to do.

Control her buoyancy with her breath, check her computer as the dive master instructed, and do all the typical things you do in a class.

I get distracted from that because, well, I get bored easily and have the attention span of a fruit fly in a produce section of Whole Foods. So I started looking around. Actually, I don’t really look around.

I just turn my head to my left.

Just a few meters from me is the biggest bull shark I have ever seen outside of an aquarium.

This is not a great feat since it is, to my knowledge, the only bull shark I have ever seen outside of an aquarium.

It was not off in the distance, it was just about 2 meters away, swimming by us and the other dive group that went came down with us.

None of us move as this apex predator from the time of the dinosaurs slowly glides by.

It does not swim.

It glides.

To my untrained eye, it looks like nothing on its body is moving, but it cruises through the ocean at a constant speed.

I know the dive goggles we use to make things look bigger, but it looked to be as big as me (ok, I Googled it, and they are on average 7 feet long… so it was bigger than me).

I look over at my wife, and she is looking straight at it. It passes no more than 2 meters from her right in front of her face.

I expect her to panic. I am ready to do my best aquatic dive over to her to keep her from trying to swim for the surface as fast as she can to get away. But she is totally calm.

Once the shark swam off the dive masters asked us if we were both okay to continue with the universal ok sign that divers and pretty much everybody use where you touch your index finger to your thumb in the shape of an O.

I signal I am good, and so does my wife.

We then continue with our dive.

We are underwater for about 40 minutes and see thousands of amazing sea animals.

All types of manta rays, and sea turtles. We also saw more types of fish than I have ever seen in one place. If I remember correctly, their scientific names were blue fish, red fish, brown fish, and rainbow fish with a clown hat. Don’t quote me on that of course. I am not a marine biologist and I don’t pretend to play one on the internet.

After the dive, we slowly rise to the top and signal for the pick-up from our boat. It is there in under a minute and we climb out.

At that point, our dive instructors said “That was amazing, it is rare to see a bull shark up so close”. My wife freezes. She looks at both of us and asks:

“What bull shark?”

The instructor and I look at each other in shock.

We both saw her looking straight at it, and it was just 6 feet from her. But, she had been so concentrated on what she needed to do with her equipment to make sure nothing went wrong, she did not see it. Or, at the very least, her brain was so focused on one challenge, she did not even see the bigger danger.

That got me thinking about my situation.

What am I missing by being so fixated on the one issue that I have almost no say in solving it?

I might also not be seeing a “bull shark”.

This “bull shark” can be a big danger or an opportunity.

What about you?

Is there a bull shark you are not seeing because you’re too fixated on something you can’t control?

RANDOM NOTE: I now have a baby stuffed shark in the house. Whenever I want to hide something from my wife I put the shark in front of it and tell her “Now you’ll never see it, it’s behind a shark”!

She informs me that I am the only one who finds that funny… but I can live with that. 🙂

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