In case you were living under a rock this weekend, endurance swimmer, Diana Nyad, on her fifth attempt, succeeded in swimming through the Florida Straits–without a shark cage–from Havana to Key West. The swim was 110 miles; she accomplished this in 53 hours of continuous swimming. Diana Nyad is 64 years old. She spoke to onlookers upon emerging from the water, “We should never, ever give up…. You never are too old to chase your dreams.”
Having started swimming 10 months ago, I was particularly moved by her accomplishment. Ten months ago, I didn’t know how to swim with my head in the water, breathing bilaterally. I didn’t know what an IM consisted of (Individual Medley, fly, back, breast, freestyle strokes swum consecutively). I had no idea what my coach was talking about when he said to “swim on intervals.” Today I swim on intervals (slow as they may be) and I actually swim IMs.
Personally, her persistence and endurance spoke to me. What it said– loud and clear– is that women of my generation are not done after 60 years old, they have just begun.
I have always taken a degree of pride in being of the generation that came to age during the late 60’s and 70’s. I was proud of our young men who fought in Vietnam, but I was proud of the change that came as a result of my generation protesting the war on campuses and in the streets.
I received several text messages over the weekend asking me the same question. “Are you going to be the next Diana Nyad?” My answer was a resounding NO! Diana has trained her entire life for this moment, and as I said, I started swimming ten months ago. What I can say is that I’m going to be the best swimmer Mo can be. I’m going to be as skilled and as fast as I can be. Last but not least, my age has nothing to do with who I am and what I can accomplish if I set my mind to it. Thank you, Diana Nyad, for that gift. It is a gift to all of us, regardless of age.
Thanks for stopping by to read my post. In the weeks to come, this column will transition from Mo Mo Politics to Life with Mo. This will allow me much more freedom to cover various different topics. I will still write about political issues, but want to open you up to a wider variety of issues that come up in Life with Mo.