|Get the best of Oprah.com in your inbox. Sign up for our newsletters!|
Hang On to Your Dreams...Even If It Takes 33 Years
Everybody has a dream. I would like to be a jazz singer or just finish a book (I am on year 11, regarding the latter). Diana Nyad wants to swim from Key West, Florida, to Cuba—a trip that will take 60 hours in the open ocean. Along the way, The New York Times reported, she will "most likely hallucinate and endure the stings of countless jellyfish," and "sea salt will swell her tongue to cartoonish proportions and rub her skin raw."
But what we love is that Nyad has tried this trip before—and failed at age 28. Back in 1978, due to stormy weather, she had to give up the dream after 50 miles. She also used a shark cage for protection. Thirty-three years later, she's not only upping the ante by losing the cage, she also told The Times, "Physically, I am much stronger than I was before. I feel strong, powerful, and endurance-wise, I'm fit."
Then there are the money issues. She has $350,000. She needs a half million. She says, "If I wind up $150,000 in debt, I won't lose sleep over it."
Add to these issues the mental challenges. Swimming for long times, totally alone, in the sea, can get, well, depressing, boring, painful and exhausting. Nyad's response? She sings a song with a beat that matches her stroke. Her favorite is "Ticket to Ride."
If you, like me, are wondering at this point what makes this woman so unwavering, driven and optimistic, if you are thinking, "Hey, why am I not like this? Do you have to be born like this?" do not fear or beat yourself up. There's a more nuanced reason for Nyad's belief in her dream. She took on this swim of a lifetime because she was upset about turning 60—and she needed to turn those feelings around.
"This is what I need to remedy my malaise," Nyad says. "There is no thinking about regrets or what will I do with the rest of my life. I'm immersed in the everyday, full tilt. It's so energizing."
Just a quick reminder to ourselves: Real triumph doesn't come from victory or defeat. It comes from what you do after you've experienced both.
Please note that Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities have no affiliation with and do not endorse those entities, projects, or websites referenced above, which are provided solely as a courtesy. You should conduct your own independent investigation before using the services of any such entities, projects, or websites. Information is provided for your reference only.