When Diana Nyad dove into the waters off the Cuban coast after a spectacular sunset, all of us who have ever postponed a dream cheered her on.
Nyad, a world record-holding distance swimmer, planned to stroke all the way to Key West, a 103-mile swim in shark-infested waters. As you know, she was forced to quit Tuesday after spending 29 hours in the water enduring shoulder pain and asthma and struggling against ocean swells. Nyad called this swim her “extreme dream.” “It’s about hope.”
And these days, hope is in short supply.
Nyad tried this swim once before, in 1978. Nyad stopped swimming when she was 29 and became an author, speaker and travel expert. In January, she hired a boat and swam for 6 ½ hours off the Mexican coast. Nyad’s swim is about still having it, about harboring a dream, unfulfilled but never lost, never abandoned to the implacable demands of earning a living, paying a mortgage, raising a family. Nyad discovered that, oftentimes, the battle is with our own self-imposed obstacles: fear of failure, fear of what others might think, even fear of sharks and jellyfish.
Nyad plunged into the gulfstream waters of an extreme dream one Sunday evening, a woman on a mission.