“You’re too old to do that.”
Have you heard this? Have you said this to someone? Well, I can tell you that I have, but after Monday, I will never believe that nor will I ever say it again.
Being someone that has “cut the cable” I do not watch a lot of news, nor do I follow popular shows, I kind of live in a bubble when it comes to entertainment like live sports, or events that are occurring. The one thing that I have kind of paid attention to over the last couple of years is Diana Nyad and her quest to do what even normal adults at the peak of fitness have not been able to do, which is to swim from Cuba to Florida.
Lets put this into perspective a little bit, I graduated high school the same year that Shaquille O’Neal graduated high school, I basically grew up watching Shaq play basketball, in his prime, then the rumblings started, “oh, he’s getting old, he is starting to break down,” – Shaq and I are in our 40’s and he has already been relegated to old and broken down. Diana Nyad is 64 years old!
She first attempted the swim back in 1978, she had to call it off because of the winds causing the waves to be too difficult to navigate. She then attempted once again, 33 years later! 2011 she wandered into the water off of Cuba and began swimming, 29 hours later (yes, 29 HOURS later) she had to pull out because of a shoulder issue and her asthma flaring up.
Ok, instead of going directly into the 3rd, 4th and her final attempt, lets stop for a moment to really appreciate this. We all know someone that is roughly 60 years of age, be it a friend, a relative, a neighbor, lets imagine that person swimming, in the ocean for 29 straight hours, actually let me rephrase that, try to imagine that person doing anything (other than sleeping) for 29 straight hours. I am in my early 40’s and I could not imagine staying up for 29 straight hours without major difficulty. Here is a 60 year old woman, swimming, in the ocean, being stung by jellyfish and suffering from asthma, for 29 straight hours before calling it quits. She may not have made it on that attempt, but, WOW!
Diana Nyad tried again in 2011, this time in September, she could not complete that swim due to jellyfish and man-of-war stings. I have never been stung by either of these things, but I have seen the after affects of them, I would not step foot in the ocean for the rest of my life if I ever got stung by these critters, but Diana Nyad not only took the pain, but she decided to try again, in 2012.
On her 4th attempt, she made it almost 52 miles, about the halfway point. Now 52 miles is a lot in any term, be it driving, cycling, running, but she did it swimming, in the ocean! A 62 year old woman, swam 52 miles in an ocean, that is crazy, When I finish half a mile in the lap pool I feel like I deserve a medal. She could not finish because of jellyfish stings and a lightning storm.
I honestly did not hear anything about Diana Nyad for awhile, until I woke up Monday morning and got one of those breaking news text alerts on my phone saying that she was about to finish her race. She was in the water for 53 hours, 53 hours!! I think the longest I have ever stayed up in my entire life was 40 and that was because of college finals. This amazing 64 year old woman swam for 53 hours from Cuba to Florida. My heart is racing just typing this, I am so amazed, she is a true warrior and should be put upon a pedestal for everyone to look at. Young, old, different body types, dog lovers, cat lovers, they should all behold something that this woman has done and embrace it.
No matter what people tell you, no matter what age you are, you can do pretty much anything if you set your mind to it. I for one am going to finally learn to play the guitar. Go out and test yourself, Diana Nyad has become a symbol of strength for any age group. I am proud to say that I followed her career and seeing her in Florida after her accomplishment really made my day.