The world is full of all kinds of isms. Racism, feminism, sexism, socialism, Catholicism and on and on. Some build us up; others try to knock us down. When 64-year-old Diane Nyad swam the waters between Cuba and Florida earlier this week, she scored a huge victory over herself, the ocean, and people’s preconceived notions about getting older.
From Saturday through Monday, Nyad swam for 53 hours - the first person to swim the approximately 110 miles without the use of a shark cage for safety. She was sunburned, bruised, battered and exhausted, but she said, “I have three messages. One is we should never, ever give up. Two is you’re never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team.” This was Nyad’s fifth attempt - her first was back in 1978.
The fact is this country is getting older every day. Many of its citizens were born in the years following the Second World War. Commonly referred to as Baby Boomers or just “Boomers,” some are now reaching retirement age and are facing societal roadblocks as well as medical issues and physical limitations.
However, most senior citizens are physically and mentally active, and are an important resource. They contribute greatly to society by bringing experience, tried and true strategies, and knowledge to the workplace and to life, and should command the respect of younger people.
While Nyad acknowledges she is no longer the “thoroughbred stallion” she was when she was younger, she says she felt stronger than ever. “Now I’m more like a Clydesdale. I’m a little thicker and stronger.” She told the Associated Press after her swim that she is “truly dead center in the prime of my life at 64.”
Nyad is a role model for all of us, and while most will never take on this type of physical test, she has shown that we can all live our dreams if we are willing to do the work.
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Source: Huffington Post, CNN, Associated Press, Fox Sports, CBS News