Book your dives online
Try Scuba Diving - Life is better under water!
Become a certified diver
Join Aaron's Dive Club and Save!

Reality Check

Posted: July 22, 2015

Well it's been over eight months now and a lot of people have been asking me if I'm happy about, or, regretting my decision to leave my old life in California and taking up this new life as a small business owner here in Hawaii.

When I told all of my good friends at L-3 Communications that I was retiring, selling my house and moving to Hawaii to take over a dive shop, many of them were jealous. Many of them thought I was nuts, (see the attached picture), probably for good reasons.  I was told how brave/crazy I was to make such a radical life change especially at such an advanced age of almost 60 years.

To be honest, I was pretty scared about the whole thing.  I had a nice job, a nice house and there was no external reason for me give all of that up for an uncertain future in a place far away with no safety net. Of course, change is always scary. That's why so many of us avoid it like the plague. But you know what? Change happens whether you want it to or not. We each choose to either make the changes or react to them. In this case, I chose to make the changes.

About 10 years ago I decided that I would like to eventually live in Hawaii and make diving a big part of my life. So, I started doing the research and began making subtle changes that would eventually enable me to achieve this goal. Now I'm not independently wealthy or have a huge retirement fund, so the plan had to include a way for me to support myself here. So yeah, I pretty much put everything on the line to get here.  Was it worth it?

Hell yes! Every time I get on the boat for a fun dive or drive over the Pali I feel a sense of gratitude. I get to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I regularly get to spend time underwater with the amazing sea life here.  

Sure, there have been challenges. Like simplifying my life and getting rid of a lot of things that I've been carrying around for decades. Like trying to pronounce all of the Hawaiian names that at first seemed impossible.  Yeah, I'm still working on that. I live in a different culture now. This is not difficult for me, but I probably worry too much about it. I'm a howlie from California and I want to be respectful of the culture that I have chosen to be part of. I spend a lot of time trying to make sure that I don't say something stupid or disrespectful.  Can't tell you yet if I've been successful at that one.

As you've probably heard, nobody gets into the dive business to get rich. To date, my experience is no different. But the other side of that statement is that people who do get into the dive business do it because they are passionate about diving. Sharing that passion with others everyday is pretty damn cool. When I set up my business entity to buy the shop, I chose the name, Ohana Dive Company, LLC. My vision has been to nurture a family/ohana of people who are passionate about diving and make a company where we all can work hard and have fun. So far, I think we are on the right track. 

It's funny because I told all of my friends that I was going to start my "semi-retirement". Well, I went the first eight months without taking a day off. Some retirement, eh? Well, I knew that I would have a lot of learning to do and I still have a lot more to learn. But even with all of the hours it's been a fun ride so far. Now I'm at a point where I can schedule regular days off which really helps to take the edge off.  I'm starting to get time to explore the island and do some non-work activities.  I'm meeting a lot of really great people who have either been here their entire lives or have taken a similar path as myself. 

Who would have thought that there is plenty of fun and adventure to have in "retirement"? I've taken up wind surfing, although my instructor might have a different opinion. I've started freediving and spearfishing. I recently did a freedive to 103ft. There is something pretty cool about grilling fresh fish that you caught underwater just a few hours before. 

So for me, the reality check looks pretty good.


Previous Article Next Article
PADI - 5 Star Instructor Development Centre
Facebook 5 Star Rating