Weighty Matters

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Never, Ever Give Up

on September 2, 2013

“Never, ever give up,” said swimming legend Diana Nyad after completing a swim of around 110 miles from Cuba to Key West in around 53 hours, without the protection of a shark cage and while wearing a special mask to protect her face and eyes from jellyfish stings.

She’s 64 years old and this was her fifth try at accomplishing this marathon feat. She’s living proof of something else she said. “You’re never too old to chase your dream.”

I’m a little sorry that I didn’t drive to Key West to join the crowd that welcomed her when she reached Smathers Beach. I bet everyone felt an exhilarating, joyous energy when they saw her leave the water and walk ashore. The woman had just completed swimming for more than two days. How the hell she was able to walk is beyond me.

Instead of driving to the southernmost city, I went out on my boat with a friend. (After taking advantage of my day off to go to a Monday morning Zumba class.) We had a beautiful day on the water. Although I didn’t get to snorkel due to a massive number of moon jellyfish, it was lovely to be out on the salty sea. We hung out for awhile looking at the jellies, which are quite zen and beautiful, and then cruised over to the sandbar for a couple of hours. Very relaxing. I thought about Diana a lot during the day and swam around my boat a few times in her honor. (Okay, I also figured it was a good way to incorporate extra exercise since I was in the water anyway at the sandbar.) When I heard that she’d finished the swim, I cheered and I very much took her words to heart. “Never, ever give up. You’re never too old to chase your dreams.”

Sometimes I get angry with myself for not having weight loss surgery years ago. I wasted so much time and so squandered so much quality of life.

When those times hit, I do my best not to wallow, but instead try to cancel the thoughts from my head and heart. Regret is a wasted emotion to some extent. I can’t rewind and relive those years. I can only continue to make today, and all of the future todays, the best. Living my best life is the most important thing, no matter what the challenge.

For today, I’m not going to dwell on the fact that I’m already in my 50s. Instead, I’m going to focus on Diana’s message. I’m never too old to chase my dreams. In my case that means living my best life. I’m never, ever going to give up my recovery.

Thanks, Diana. Congratulations.

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4 responses to “Never, Ever Give Up

  1. Hope says:

    I’m with Skye. This was the right time for you to have your surgery and lose the weight. Who knows, if you’d done it earlier, before you were really ready, you might have lost some, but not kept it off. You’ve made such great progress over the past couple years. And you should be really proud of yourself for it. No regrets necessary!

  2. To what extent is regret NOT a wasted emotion? Only as it impels us into a better choice. Other roads to get there.

  3. robenagrant says:

    I thought of you Mary, when I watched this tonight. I even scanned the crowd. : )
    It also made me applaud Diana for her words. Too many of us do give up on our dreams. I’m the same age as she is and can’t believe I’m recognizing my dream to be published this year. Sometimes I shake my head and think I’m too old, and then I watch something like this and think about what this woman has endured and hell, writing a book is nothing by comparison.

  4. Skye says:

    What Diana said is so much more meaningful BECAUSE of her age and how many times she’s tried to make this swim before. If a 30-year-old said it, I’d pretty much sneer at it and wallow in my regrets. Okay, I tend to wallow in my regrets anyway, because I have tons of them, all things I didn’t do or failed at … rather than looking at everything as simply choices, mistakes, learning experiences. I have a several-ton weight of regrets hanging around my neck.

    “Living my best life” — what a wonderful thought! So what that we are in our 50s and didn’t get our butts in gear on this or that when we were younger? As various mental/spiritual health care people have said or written over the years, we were doing the best we could at the time. We were making the decisions we were capable of making then. Yes, I still wish I had chosen to go to Wales for a year or even a summer and live in a cottage and write before the time of mortgages and other debts. But I was still pretty damned timid in my early 20s and I don’t know that I could have managed.

    So you didn’t have weight-loss surgery years ago. Well, maybe you weren’t mentally and emotionally capable of the sustained effort it is taking; maybe you weren’t able to be as confident and strong about it as you are now. But now, baby you are ROCKIN’ it!

    It does suck to be in my 50s, single, and not having had a meaningful relationship in far too long. Maybe that won’t change, but maybe it will. It’s only been in the last year that I’ve felt like maybe it could change and allowed myself to be open to the possibility. Sounds like you’ve been feeling something similar.

    We do the best we can at the time. Keeping that in mind (when I manage to remember) helps me navigate around and through the regrets. I definitely need to remember to live the best life I can, and keep sawing at the rope that holds that weight of regrets hanging around my neck!

    You remind me to return to better, healthier mental states. You remind me of all of this, in a more tangible way. That’s what your writing this blog means for me. I know it’s not about me, but thank you, just the same.

    You truly do rock!

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