By Jonathan Slain, an EO Cleveland member and CEO of Fitness Together
At our EO Cleveland “All-Member Meeting” in July 2013, my once-in-a-lifetime, “only in EO” experience took shape. Our Learning Chair, Jason Fordu, had a new idea he wanted to try out. In an event called the “EO Bucket Wish,” he gave all of the chapter’s members a chance to cross an item off their bucket list with US$5,000 from EO to fulfill it!
My wife, Katherine, and I had completed our bucket list recently, which included drive a Lamborghini (too easy), write a book (too hard), African safari (too far), scuba dive with sharks (too scary) and catch lobsters in the ocean (just right)! I eventually settled on “the lobster thing,” and guess what, I won the draw!
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a place that would give us a lobster-fishing license in March. Little did we know that it would be difficult to get the license, and that most countries only allow it in late summer if you’re not commercial fishermen. So, we decided that scuba-diving with sharks and pursuing our dream of becoming master scuba divers would have to be suitable substitutes.
The big day arrived and the adventure certainly lived up to our expectations! As we descended on our first dive, at a site called “Treasure Wreck,” we found sharks awaiting us below! After we got used to swimming with sharks on the first dive, we began our second dive of the day at “Shark Arena.” On this dive, Katherine and I descended first, without a guide. The guide was going to wait for us to get down below, and then he was going to follow us with a box of bait—think raw fish heads—to feed the sharks. Katherine and I sat on the bottom of the ocean at about 50 feet, while two dozen Caribbean Reef Sharks materialized out of nowhere to wait (very impatiently) for their chance to get a free meal.
There’s more to our adventure we’d love to share, but I’ll be remiss if I don’t point out that Katherine and I never would have traveled so far from home this year if not for the EO Bucket Wish. We had both resigned ourselves to just working hard at our careers and raising our young girls this year, with no plans to travel abroad.
This trip couldn’t have come at a better time in our lives. We had gotten into the bad habit of planning to cross items off our bucket list later in life, when the time would be right. We assured ourselves we’ll do them later when we have more money, more free time, when our girls are older, and so on.
This trip also reminded us of the importance of living in the present. We’ve resolved not to make excuses anymore. We’re crossing stuff off our bucket list every year, no matter what! All it takes is organization, planning and the will to make it happen.
The US$5,000 we got from EO helped, but more importantly we didn’t want to squander this opportunity that EO Cleveland afforded us. We held true to the core values of EO and we “boldly went” … we plan to “boldly go”somewhere “cool” again, each and every year. It’s the least we can do to say, “Thank you, EO Bucket Wish!”