For Gen X folks, the amazing story of Diana Nyad’s epic journey to fulfill her longtime dream of conquering her human limitations to achieve the impossible has Journey’s iconic song “Don’t Stop Believin" written all over it.
There’s a 64 year old woman who trained for decades to overcome the obstacles that had been hindering her to cross the oceans by swimming continuously from Cuba to Florida for more than 50 hours with the guidance of her team and show the rest of the world what the human spirit is all about.
American author and world-famous endurance swimmer Diana Nyad started her quest in 1978 to cross the waters from Cuba to Florida when she was a much younger athlete but failed – tried again more than three decades later and failed again three times in a row until she got it right on her latest and perhaps her most physically trying attempt at making her lofty dream come true.
On September 2, just a few weeks ago, Diana Nyad became the first person to successfully swim from Cuba to Florida without the protection of a shark cage.
While Diana was swimming across the ocean, she was surrounded by her supportive team, in their not too distant boats, who traveled with her, guided, nursed and encouraged her to keep going.
However, Diana may not have made her successful journey if the amazing Baby Boomer did not have that extraordinary physical and mental strength to push through her 110-mile swim - one stroke and one breath at a time.
For us normal folks, there’s a little piece of Diana Nyad’s resilient spirit running in our veins if only we would pause for a moment, recognize, accept and nurture it.
It’s that little push that inspires us to get up amidst broken bones after falling flat on our faces usually from failures, disappointments, tragedies and losses that we seem to have so much of in this world. It’s what keeps us going even when our mortal “batteries” are on the verge of shutting down our physical, emotional and spiritual strength that makes it possible for that one sliver of faith to miraculously charge our imperfect system.
It's that little glitch in our broken self finally zapping our subconscious to acknowledge what we have in our plate, get on with our plan of action and say with conviction "No Excuses. I can do it. I will do it. Now. No matter what."
According to Diana, in one of her interviews, she kept an imaginary playlist in her head while she was swimming through the "unknown" that kept her fire alive. She said her Baby Boomer music from the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and Neil Young helped in motivating her to push herself forward until she finally conquered what she toiled long and hard for.
Her successful journey was captured in a 96-minute documentary that will debut on September 26, according to her website. Called "The Other Shore", it narrates the story of Diana who, despite being a victim of sexual abuse when she was a teenager, overcame obstacles to emerge as one of the most notable athletes of our generation.
Here is a list of inspirational songs from the Gen X era that we grew up listening to that may now serve as our connection to what Diana Nyad experienced during her own bittersweet journey towards her dream.
As we swim through the oftentimes turbulent waters of life, may these songs also ignite the fire within us that would guide our way to that welcoming light at the end of the tunnel, to that dry land that we've been seeking for after getting lost in the turbulent waters of our own rocky journey towards our own individual aspirations.
Dream big, everyone.