Monday, September 2, 2013


"It's never too late to be what you might have been"
                                    -George Eliot-

I thought about this quote when I heard that Diana Nyad was attempting to swim from
Cuba to Florida again. Nyad had already failed four times before stepping into the ocean on
Saturday, having been beaten down in the past by paralyzing jelly-fish stings, hypothermia,
and a tongue so swollen, she could hardly breathe. But the 64-year old endurance athlete
refused to give up on her dream of becoming the first person to complete the treacherous
swim without a shark cage.

There were a lot of people who questioned why Nyad would even bother to try it again, after
all, she nearly died during the swim last September. Some felt she was just doing it for attention
and that she needed to "just give it up." I'm sure there are much easier ways to get some
publicity than swimming over 100-miles in shark infested waters and incurring stings that swell
your face to the size of a large pumpkin. Heck, Nyad could've just gone on the set of "Ray
Donavan" and twerked Jon Voight. That would've been a much more comfortable way of
blowing up Twitter and capturing some headlines.

Nyad heard the critics and the whispers that turned into loud roars. She knew everybody in
the world doubted and even laughed at her. She was 64-years old, for crying out loud. That's
an age when most people are thinking about walks on the beach, sunsets, and relaxing on
Golden Pond. Who in their right mind would even consider swimming all that way and for

Nyad thought about and conquered it. There was no medal waiting for her when she swam
ashore in Miami. I'm not sure there's going to be a seven-figure endorsement deal, either.
She did it because she believed in herself. She believed that she wasn't too old, too slow, or
even too soft to be defeated. She didn't care that people doubted and laughed at her. She
didn't listen to those who said it couldn't be done, especially at her age.

It's almost fitting that on Labor Day, while most Americans were enjoying the day off,
Nyad was working relentlessly to fulfill her dream. She achieved that dream and taught every
one of us a lesson.

Too many times we impose limitations on ourselves. Too many times we let others try to
squash our dreams. Too many times we listen to the critics who say it can't be done.
Nyad proved that failure is not final and that people should never give up on accomplishing
their dreams just because it didn't work out once, twice, three, or even four times.

Nyad at 64-freaking-years old swam 103-miles in 53 hours in shark infested waters on
September 2, 2013. That is unreal. That is amazing. That is a great lesson for those who
often say, "I can't", when they really can, but just don't know it.

No comments:

Post a Comment