Diving into Retirement

“One of these days I’m going to retire,” says Atria Cary active independent senior living resident and master diver Dan Blum. Though he in fact retired 18 years ago from a 37-year career at IBM, Blum finds himself busier than ever at a stage in life he describes as being one of “freedom.”

And for Blum, there is no other way he’d choose to spend much of his time than underwater. Already comfortable in the water after a lifetime of water sports, scuba diving wasn’t an activity that caused Blum any hesitation. Although he considers himself a “calculated” engineer by nature and no daredevil or even unnecessary risk taker, when Blum’s daughter invited him and his wife, Nancy — her mother — on a trip to Cozumel to scuba dive, Blum was game. He knew he wasn’t going “to sit on the beach sipping a drink with a tiny umbrella while [his daughter] explored the ocean’s depths.”

Dan poses with his daughter, Sheila, to commemorate his 300th dive.

So, ever the pragmatist and planner, Blum started to prepare to dive before he even left the land. After starting his journey with PADI before he arrived in Cozumel by completing his confined water dives, Blum was certified in Cozumel and went on to complete his first dives there as a certified scuba diver.

Now, after other dive trips in tropical locations — and after completing some 300 dives — Blum prefers to dive closer to home.

Fantasy Lake Adventure Park in Rolesville is the site of Blum’s adventures these days. The social aspect of diving is just one of the dynamics of scuba diving that appeals to Blum, as he and the “Scuba Nuts” diving group keep each other company under and above water — and, especially important for senior citizens, help keep each other safe.

Although it is “very relaxing” and can feel like “floating through air,” says Blum of diving, just as “all the gadgets” used for scuba diving appeal to his engineering brain, so does planning his dives and following a strict process of preparation.

Dan and his daughter swim through the clear waters of Cozumel after he earned his PADI open-water certification.

From maintaining several checklists that start the night before a dive to stretching exercises he undertakes right before he enters the water, Blum is no last-minute “let’s see what we find” scuba diver; for him, “Splash at 10” means taking into consideration factors he is must remain conscious of at his age. Whether that means he needs help carrying his gear into the water or staying closer to home for his dives, Dan remains cognizant that the time is approaching when he will have to hang up his wetsuit.

And that final dive may be closer than he thinks. With the Scuba Nuts’ first weekly dive of the season planned at the quarry today, Blum acknowledges that he will know it’s time to stop when “I don’t enjoy myself.”

Though scuba diving is a passion he shares with his daughter and an experience that has offered more depth to their relationship, even when he can no longer dive, Blum knows that they will find other activities to enjoy together. And although it will be a disappointing day when he must give up diving, the already busy Blum has plenty of other activities as an ambassador at Atria Cary to keep him occupied.

So here’s to Dan and his current count of 311 dives — and to doing the things we desire when we have the time to more fully devote ourselves to them!

1 Comment

  • Dr. Nishith shah says:

    What a passion? What zeal of life!! Dan u have encouraged me to do something new after I retire.

    Keep it up young man…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *