'… Dozens of onlookers -- some in kayaks and boats, many others wading in the water or standing on shore -- gathered to cheer Nyad on as she finished the more than 100-mile swim. She pumped her fist as she walked onto the beach toward an awaiting medic before being guided to an ambulance. "I got three messages," an exhausted and happy Nyad told reporters. Her face was sunburned and swollen. "One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you never are too old to chase your dreams. Three is it looks like a solitary sport, but it's a team," she said. The swim was a long-awaited triumph for Nyad, who was making her fifth attempt since 1978 and her fourth since turning 60…'
Her fourth attempt since turning 60?!? At 64, Diana Nyad achieved a goal that she first attempted in her twenties. I had a goal in my twenties. No, actually I didn’t and that was the problem. I didn’t know anything about making goals and working toward them. My mom taught me how to read and how to put in a zipper and also how to rip it out and do it again until I got it right. My dad taught me how to tell a joke and gave me the courage to be a freelancer.
So with pride I can say that I knew how to do a good job but unfortunately not how to figure out what that job might be. It took me years to find out what I liked, what I might be good at, where my interests lied. I could follow through, attend to details and deliver on time. Eventually I learned to do this with a smile and give co-workers a good laugh. But goals, persistence? What was that?
Then I finally realized how much I liked words and saw that I did a decent job of stringing them together with a humorous twist. I wrote and began to publish but would choke after each rejection. I was always consumed for far too long with fears and self-doubts, between the spurts of accomplishments and awards.
Yet as a young girl I was fascinated by figure skaters, not for the beauty or the talent but for the ability to get up early and practice for hours before school and then come back at the end of the day and do it again. And again. And again. Every day and longer hours on the weekend. I wanted to be that person.
Diana Nyad is older than me. But we both had dreams in our twenties. At 27, mine was to write a screenplay or create a sitcom but I chose the path of my comfort zone and went into TV/film production. Now I want to write a book and get it published. What’s a few paper cuts against jellyfish bites and shark attacks? This swim was her fourth attempt since turning 60. I still can’t wrap my head around that. But I want to learn how she summoned up that determination. This time, I really want it.