Tuesday, August 9, 2011

On persistence - Diana Nyad

I've written from time to time about various heroes. Pete Seeger. Mr. Rogers. John Lennon. Dr. King. I have another one.

Diana Nyad is a lot of things. She is a journalist and writer. She is a long distance swimmer who recently, at 61, attempted to swim from Cuba to Florida. She is a lesbian. She is a woman who has overcome any of a number of obstacles to attempt and often achieve her goals.

Why is she one of my heroes? Because of her determination, her outstanding goals and willingness to not achieve them in the effort to be more than she was the day before; attempting the goal, giving it everything, is worth it. Because she is undaunted by age and by the culturally imposed limitations of gender. Because she speaks out.

Diana Nyad undertook her most recent swim from Cuba to Florida for both personal reasons (the public personal reasons have to do with feeling better at 61 than she did at 29, when she last tried this swim) and public reasons (to remind those of us who feel too old to try things that age need not be a limitation). She chose to end her swim when she was just under half-way along, the currents and various physical challenges proved to be too much. Even this is monumental - she swam over 50 miles in 29 hours and made the decision to not permanently injure herself but to end when she could make a the decision to do so. This is the choice of a wise, mature woman.

While Diana didn't complete the swim, she inspired me to strive for bigger goals, to not be afraid of failure, to be strong. She has achieved her goal of inspiring me, and thousands others, to live big, regardless of age. Thank you.

(c)2011 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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