You knew I would blog about Diana Nyad didn’t you? I mean what could be more compelling than the story of a 64-year-old women achieving her dream of swimming the roughly 110 miles from Cuba to the United States after making the same attempt four previous times? (The first time was in 1978 when she was in her 20’s.) This is a perfect story. Not Hollywood perfect, but just plain inspirational and downright awe-inspiring for each one of us.
What makes it so special is that Diana Nyad is like you and me -- and many of us who have faced challenges in our own lives. We all have something that is equal to swimming 100 miles in shark and jellyfish infested waters, right? She is not presented as a super athlete (although she is), but rather as a very determined woman who refused to let her dream die. What an inspiration!
Her point is simple. Find a way. All of us face heartbreak and challenges, and we must never ever give up. That was her mantra throughout the swim this time. She says it does not matter what you come up against. It is usually not pleasant nor always wonderful, but never give up. Rather, find a way. Even if it takes you 40 years!
She also tells us that you are never too old to chase your dream; and do not forget that what looks like a solitary sport is actually a team effort.
I do not need to break that down; clearly I resonate with the idea of never being too old to chase my dream, don’t you? But the part about a team effort is pretty meaningful. The definition of that team being family, friends, coworkers or even strangers that support you. No one gets through this alone.
We have funds here established to support the dreams of others -- through scholarships that allow students to achieve their goals of completing college and launching careers, through youth programs designed to support young athletes and agencies that move people into self-sufficiency, provide protection or a simple hand up at vulnerable times in their lives. Like when sharks circle or jelly fish lurk.
Never give up.