Diana Nyad completes historic swim: a lesson in never giving up

Diana Nyad completed her historic swim from Cuba to Florida on her fifth attempt at the age of 64, and who can claim to not be inspired by that? But, what I want to know is, as a US citizen, how the heck did Diana Nyad get into Cuba five times?

Okay, just kidding about the Cuba thing, (but really, only a little, inquiring minds want to know.) I find myself completely verklempt upon hearing about this woman’s success and this is mostly because she had to keep trying and trying and trying to do this crazy thing.

Any writers out there, who like me, didn’t have NYT Bestseller success right out of the box (or the second time out of the box), know what it feels like to keep doing a crazy thing despite all indications that if you do keep going you will, some day, be eaten by sharks.

“No one asks you to write a novel,” my writer friend, we’ll call her “Chris,” once said to me. She’s right. (Just like no one asks you to swim the  Straits of Florida, I imagine.) No one asks you to sit in solitude for hours and hours on end hammering away at a story you don’t know if anyone else will ever read (except for your Mom, maybe Dad) and then, if anyone will even like it.

I am so inspired by what Diana Nyad did. She didn’t quit.

At the age of 64, she swam over one-hundred miles. It took over 52 hours. I mean, what were you doing fifty-two hours ago? Can you imagine swimming (or doing anything, except maybe dozing) that entire time? This was her fifth try. The fifth! (My husband says I should mention her last name, Nyad, is a homophone for water nymphs in Greek mythology, because he thinks it's neat. Thus endeth the lesson in Greek mythology and marital bliss for the day.)

Whether Diana Nyad was out to prove something to herself or to the world, I don’t know, but I do understand the drive to complete something you started and what it means to have naysayers think you’re nuts. She believed in herself. She never gave up. And that’s what I will take away from her amazing, inspiring accomplishment. This is what I will tell my children about it. Diana Nyad succeeded because she never gave up.

Way to go, Diana Nyad. Congratulations!

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