So this week, I couldn’t get enough of Diana Nyad, the first person to complete a marathon swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida without a shark cage. I guess I’m a sucker for those kinds of feel good, “follow your dream”, “it’s never too late” stories.
If you paid attention too, you already know it took 110 miles (or 53 hours), she’s 64, and this was her fifth attempt. Her first try had been at the age of 28. The rest, after the age of 60. The dream never died. Laid dormant for decades, but never went away. I read one article (by Chris Erskine of the LA Times) that called her the High Priestess of the Land of Try-Try Again. I like that. I wish I’d thought of it.
Fall seven times, stand up eight. ~Japanese proverb
But I know about nagging feelings that won’t go away. I have one. I won’t call it a dream. Maybe just a fantasy. A daydream, really. I want to become fluent in Spanish. It’s comical I know, since oftentimes my English can’t be understood, but there you have it. And I believe if you have a dream, or a recurring, nagging something that won’t be forgotten, you probably should be doing it. I used to think I yearned to know Spanish because some sexy Latin lover was going to whisk me away to foreign lands. Now I think it’s more likely an adopted dog that only knows Spanish is in my future. The point is, I’ve added it to my to do list. I have a friend in her fifties, learning to play the flute. She just wants to. You don’t have to know the reason. There doesn’t even have to be a reason. Just start.
You should do whatever it is that calls to you. If you need more inspiration, check out Diana Nyad’s TED talk in 2011 which she ends by paraphrasing Mary Oliver. This led me to look up the poem, but first I’ll close with a quote from the swimmer herself. “You tell me what your dreams are. What are you chasing? It’s not impossible. Name it.”
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
~ Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems