She had a dream and kept it alive for about 40 years, because that’s how long it took Diana Nyad to achieve her dream. To swim across the ocean from Cuba to Florida, unprotected in the shark prone waters for more than a hundred miles, would probably be a nightmare for most of us. But not so for Nyad. Can you guess at what age she accomplished this feat? Come one, take a guess. Unless you’re already aware of her, you wouldn’t imagine that she was 64, (I’m not kidding!) when she made that epic journey. She was the first person to ever swim across this stretch of hostile waters, alive.
Her first attempt was in 1978. In 2013, she reached her sweet destination after more than 50 hours of continuous swimming, on her 5th attempt. Although she almost lost her life in her previous attempts, this iron lady never gave up. I cannot imagine that such a person exists!
Here is the TED talk she gave a few months after fulfilling her lifelong dream. This powerful yet funny talk struck the right chord in me. As silly as it may sound, I had a huge internal struggle about starting a blog (You might have read about that from my first blog post “Will anyone read my blog?”). I wasn’t sure if I was “good enough” or whether it was the “right time” or whether it was a “good idea”. But on December 28th 2016, I stumbled upon this 15 minute video and I tell you, I created my WordPress account within the 17th minute. Nyad’s story inspired me to do something, anything, worth attempting. I hope she inspires you as well.
What particularly moved me, was her final words in the video, “Find a way”. Isn’t that what we all look for? So I guess it all comes down to Acceptance. Doesn’t it? We could either choose to brood about our limitations, insecurities and failures and accept defeat or we could believe and accept that there is a way beyond all those things that, we think, holds us back. So, what are you waiting for?
I was taking a walk this evening, lost, as usual within myself. The place was beautiful, with lots and lots of trees, birds chattering among themselves about their day, a cool breeze, rustling leaves… Just perfect! But there was a storm raging within me.
What I really want in life, is still a mystery to me. I see many people around, who are crystal clear, about what they want, how their life should be… All planned out with a timeline. But I don’t think I have a clue. Yes, there are many things that excite me, but I’m not so sure what my true passion is. I wonder if only I’m plagued by such doubts.
I kept walking along, looking at my feet, take one step in front of the other. I know that’s how life will unfold too, one step and then another. I’m ready to do this, but I wonder where I’ll reach. “What if I end up in a place I wouldn’t enjoy?”, my pessimist mind questions me. I have no answer.
I would’ve walked for about an hour, continuously probing into myself, asking all kinds of questions-“What if?”, “What next?”, “Why did I…?”, “How would I handle…?”… Lost in these thoughts, I didn’t realize where I was going. Suddenly, I heard a twig break, to my left, breaking also, my chain of thoughts.
When I looked up, I saw the diamond Sun. So beautiful and magnificent, as always, but not its usual curvy self. The trees had sculpted the Sun into a glowing diamond. I stood there transfixed. I had never seen the Sun in such a form before. It was new and refreshing. Also, reassuring.
I slowly turned around and started walking back home. The storm in me had calmed down. I had just realized something. All I had to do, was to see things from another point, from an unexplored point. At that moment, I felt, that I should regard life as a huge experiment, for me to know and understand myself. An experiment, where I may or may not figure out what the right constituents are, that would make my life’s chemistry perfect. The experiment itself would be fun, wouldn’t it? Yes, things may blow some times, but those falls and those dead ends, I’m sure, will give a new perspective, another diamond sun, to show me a better way. If there is a chance, for me to Recognize what the right equation of my life is, I am ready to make this journey joyfully, ready to learn, ready to be moulded and sculpted, to find a brand new avatar of myself. As long as I keeping trying, it’ll totally be worth it. Don’t you think?
When do you get inspired? Is it when you see the limitless ocean as you sit by a beach or the view of the magnificent mountains towering above you? Do you get inspired when you observe a spider building its web that glistens in the first rays of the sun, or when you see the efforts a child puts in to stand up on his own feet?
I feel inspired when I see something beautiful, which is at the same time, intriguing. The almost periodic visit of the waves to the coast line, though calm, makes me appreciate the vastness of the ocean. It makes me wonder about the expanse of the ocean that, to me, extends till infinity. It makes me think of what my capabilities are and what limits me from going after my dreams. The mighty mountains speak to me when I gaze at them in awe. They make me question myself, “What heights could I achieve, if only I tried?”. The industrious spider in my balcony, my friend’s child wobbling, as she tries to stand up even after several failed attempts, or the trials that I went through to make things right in my life, are all no less motivating.
When was the last time you were excited and inspirited, that you felt, “Ah! This is life”? Ask yourself as to how often you feel that way and how long you stay in that moment of delight.