We are always told we should learn sports when we are young, when our bodies are more resilient to the bruises and bumps which can be afflicted on us when we learn a new sport. This is true to a certain extent.
Take for example, my experience learning wind surfing. I learnt the sport when I was 26. If I were to learn this sport now at age 42, chances are I would not go far and would probably give up after 1 or 2 tries. Learning wind surfing was like battling with all the forces at the same time! We’re talking about trying to balance on choppy waves on a slippery wet board, at the same time maneuvering a sail which weighs more than you in the correct direction that you want to go.In the process, I contributed blood and flesh from cuts on barnacles and bruises from hitting the surf board more than once before falling into the waters.
But there is a huge difference with scuba diving. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO LEARN SCUBA DIVING. I can never say this enough. I learnt scuba diving when I was 38. Now I’m not saying that 38 is a ripe old age but still, the body does feel somewhat less strong and less resilient. Added to that, as we get older, we also seem to have more fears. Perhaps we feel we have more to lose if something should happen to us.
I say middle age and beyond should never be a factor in learning scuba diving BUT you do need to have these:
1) an intense love for the sea
2) a willingness to learn from someone younger than you
3) relatively good health and lastly but very important
4) time and money
Now I’m assuming that you are thinking of learning scuba diving because you want to make this a sport that you can enjoy every other weekend if time and money permits and not just learning for education’s sake.
An Intense Love for the Sea
To enjoy a scuba diving trip, you will have to love the sea and I mean really really love it with all its wonderful creatures large and small. You will know what I mean on your first ever scuba diving trip after you have cleared your Open Water tests.
It is unlikely that your scuba diving buddies on your first dive trip will be the same classmates in your scuba diving course. Because of time and money constraints, you will find that you may be the only one keen enough to join a scuba diving trip soon after your certification.
More often than not, your dive buddies will be a dive-crazy bunch who will do at least 4 dives a day plus another at night. This means that on a scuba diving trip, most times you will not do anything but dive, talk about the sea creatures and encounters of each dive, before suiting up for the next dive. For someone who only wants to do one dive a day and then go shopping, he/she may be disappointed as many great scuba diving spots have few of these shopping and entertainment facilities.
In case you are already getting stressed just thinking about this, don’t be. Every scuba diving newbie goes through this. Just have an attitude of a newbie, be humble and you will find that the seasoned divers are more than willing to share tips and may even help you to gear up before a dive.
A Willingness to Learn from Someone Younger than You
Your scuba diving instructor is likely to be someone much younger than you. Some dive instructors have an attitude and are cocky so you may have to live with it for at least 3 weekends before you become certified – 1st weekend for classroom and theory, 2nd weekend for pool sessions and a 3rd weekend for the actual open water tests. Put aside your ego and just bear with it, it’ll be worth it in the end.
Having said that, that’s not to say that there are no good and kind scuba diving instructors around. I was fortunate to receive dive instruction from PC, a very kind and patient man, without whom my dive learning experience would not be as smooth and enjoyable.