A goodbye to the past

Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.

These words from Semisonic rang true when I left Nova Scotia over a year ago to move to St. Maarten, and they continue to ring true now that I’m leaving the little island I’ve called home for the past 15 months.

In June of 2015 I left everything I knew to move to the Caribbean and pursue a divemaster certification. What was supposed to be a 2 month stay of learning ended up turning into a job spent under-water. I was fresh out of university, Marine Biology degree in hand (figuratively speaking), and on a mission to further myself in marine fields in any way possible. The divemaster certification was supposed to compliment my degree, and allow me to become even more comfortable under-water, surrounded by the flora and fauna I spent 5 years reading about in university. Instead, moving to St. Maarten gave me so much more than that.

Living on my own, in a foreign country forced me to become much more self-sufficient than I was ever going to become living in Nova Scotia. Not only am I more confident being on my own, but living amongst a different culture allowed me to gain perspective on what’s truly important in life. Material things like fancy apartments or cars aren’t as important as a roof over your head and your own two feet to get you where you need to be. I know it’s cliché, but what’s genuinely important is that you’re happy. Live a life you’re proud of. While living in St. Maarten I didn’t have a fancy apartment or a car to drive places with, but I was living under the sun, and getting to see sharks on a daily basis. My heart lies within the sea, and amongst the beautiful species I strive to help protect. St. Maarten had my heart; I can truly say that. However, I believe it’s important in life not to plateau. Do not look at your life and say “this is it”. I want to be able to look back on life when I’m old and see personal growth from beginning to end. Because of this my journey in St. Maarten has come to a close.

While in St. Maarten I achieved everything I set out to do and so much more. I became a certified divemaster, logging over 500 dives in the process. I am now more confident underwater than I ever imagined being. With the help of Ocean Explorers Dive Center I assisted in developing a shark awareness course, where I was able to give lectures and teach divers about the importance of shark conservation. I was able to volunteer with the local marine park and learn about the local habitats and ecosystems. Essentially I have become I better, more educated, and more confident version of the person I was before starting this journey.

It is now time for me to take these experiences and move onto the next chapter in my life. I want to continue to move forward within the marine science world, and St. Maarten has become an important stepping stone on my journey to get there.

Unfortunately life isn’t always sunshine and beaches. Often the important life choices to make are not the easy choices to make. Often the stepping stones leading you to the next chapter aren’t fun, but rather necessary. This is where the next step of my journey has taken me. It’s time to buckle down and pay off my debts; a weight on my shoulders that many university students and graduates understand all too well. I know many people admire me for living my life freely and adventure-filled, always striving toward working within my desired field. But the reality is that it takes work to get there. And work is what I’ll do.

In the words of Semisonic; every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.

And for me this is my beginnings end, and my new beginning.

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3 thoughts on “A goodbye to the past

  1. Well said, Kirsti! You are a very special person in my life, and I know without a doubt, you will find your place in the world of ocean conservation , and especially with the importance of sharks in this day , and for many days to come.

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  2. When one door closes another door opens…I have no doubt that with your passion to explore and preserve the ocean that you have chosen the right career path and that one day soon you will succeed in finding a fulfilling position in your chosen field.

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  3. It takes most people a lifetime to figure out what you already know Kirsti, and many never do. Your words, and your actions, are so full of remarkable wisdom far beyond your young years, and so very inspirational to anyone at any age. Keep on divin’ in and livin’ life to it’s fullest Kirsti! Can’t wait to see where your journey takes you next. – Michelle Z.

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