What if you ask your grandparents or any person around 60 or 70 years old to learn a new skill like painting, using internet, swimming, learning a new language or anything they like. Maximum chances are the answers would be ‘ Honey I have lived my life, it’s time for me to relax before death’– this is probably the expected answer also. As per science also our learning abilities start declining slowly with age, however we can keep our brain active by utilizing it activities like- playing an instrument, reading books, playing crossword, sudoku, chess.
We humans are very strange creature. First we set some parameters about what and how much we can do, how long we can do etc. When someone cross those parameters we redefine and set another parameters until someone again cross those. Perhaps we ourselves don’t yet know about our capabilities, we are more than what we think.
Few days back I came across a story about an american swimmer named Dyana Nyad. She became the first person on earth to complete the epic 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida unassisted, battling fatigue, deadly currents and venomous jellyfish on september 2, 2013. This was her fifth attempt to complete her dream marathon swim.
That’s great. Hats off to you Dyana. You are a great athlete. What surprises me most was the age at which she completes this 110 mile swimming. 64 yeah you saw it right, she was 64 years old when she had done this. Unbelievable, incredible, outlandish, unimaginable what other words are coming to your mind but no word is enough to describe her achievement. But like every achievement, this one also has background story. Before that have a look on some of her pics and messages-
So, let’s dive into the life of this incredible lady – Diana Nyad was born Diana Sneed in New York City on August 22, 1949. Her mother remarried when Diana was a young child, and she was adopted by her stepfather. The family relocated to South Florida, where Diana grew up, and she joined her school’s swim team at the age of 10. After graduating (1973) from Lake Forest College in Illinois, she set several marathon swimming records. In 1974 she finished the 22-mile (35-km) Bay of Naples race in Italy, establishing a new women’s mark of 8 hours 11 minutes. The following year she completed a 28-mile (45-km) swim around New York City’s Manhattan Island in 7 hours 57 minutes, breaking the previous record (set unofficially in 1927) by nearly an hour. In 1979 she swam 102 miles (164 km) from the Bahamian island of North Bimini to Juno Beach, Florida, in 27 hours 30 minutes—at that time the longest ocean swim in history.
But her dream was to swim between cuba and florida which is 110 mile journey. In 1978 Nyad first attempted a Cuba-to-Florida crossing, which was some 110 miles (180 km) across the Straits of Florida. She swam with the aid of a shark cage, but rough seas forced her to abandon the effort. After turning 30, she gave up swimming to focus on a career in broadcast journalism. After 30 year when her mother died she was 60 years old and decided to persue her dream once again. I mean when most of the people are thinking of retirement and want to relax what was going through this women’s mind, Dyana said
“I just didn’t want to have any regrets. I kept on thinking about all the things in my life I could have done differently. My mother had died at 82 and I realised I might only have 22 years left and I just wanted to make sure I really lived them.”
She tried twice in the year 2011 but she failed both times. In August she was forced to quit after some 29 hours because of an asthma attack, and in late September her swim was cut short after 40 hours when she sustained painful jellyfish stings, which are the most venomous creatures on Earth. But this could not prevent her from persuing her dream. She tried once again in the year 2013 at the age of 64. After 52 hours 54 minutes 18.6 seconds, finally she completed the epic swim and fulfil her dream.
People like Diana Nyad force humankind to rethink about the capabilities of humans. When everyone was criticizing her for doing the crazy journey of 110 miles at the age of 64, she didn’t go according to humanly set rules. Age was not an execuse to her. And the best words came from her-
She has written many books on her journey the latest one is ‘Find a way’
Don’t make yourself weak just by thinking about some chronological number. Give life your best shots before you leave this planet. Don’t make age an execuse like Diana Nyad did.
Keep adding life to your days. Until next week. -Joy
Image source: https://townhallseattle.org/event/diana-nyad-2/ https://www.pinterest.com/pin/553379872934141864/ https://www.ted.com/talks/diana_nyad_never_ever_give_up