Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Could Kick Diana Nyad's Butt

 photo 9413_DianaNyad1_zpsc99c9a96.jpg
It's important to keep your eye on the goal . . .

I could easily kick the butt of sexagenarian Diana Nyad. Yeah, over the holiday weekend she took a little 100-mile swim from Cuba to Florida protected only by a small electrical current to keep the sharks at bay and a head-to-toe rubber suit to avoid the jellyfish that doomed her last attempt while I floated around my sister’s pool sipping on a strawberry margarita. But I could so totally beat her in the complaining-about-getting-older contest. Hands down.

This has been one of those years when I’ve considered throwing in the towel when it comes to fighting the aging process.  I’ve fallen twice, which has meant that much of my weekly socializing has been done in my physical therapist’s office. For the first time since July I’ve lifted a big 5 lbs.! But my shoulder hurt, and my rebuilt neck hurt, and my arthritic knee hurt after “chasing” my arthritic dog down the sidewalk. I finally broke down and hired landscapers to whip my garden into shape because I’m not really good at the kneeling or pulling thing. I huffed and puffed when trying to put an elasticized slipcover over my couch cushion. Yes, I made enough noise when putting on a slipcover that my husband came in to see if I needed help.

So I could totally beat Nyad at a getting-older-sucks complaint contest.

This complaining about age is new to me. And frankly, I think I’m finally getting as tired of my complaints as everyone else is who’s had to listen to me.

even when the goal seems out of sight at times . . .
 photo 9413_DianaNyad2_zps81675fbc.jpg
I wonder what Diana Nyad complains about? Certainly not jellyfish or she would just decide against jumping into the wide ocean. Does she complain about Miley Cyrus twerking? She probably is too busy laying out the steps to accomplish grand goals to watch Entertainment Tonight.

Diana Nyad is example to all of us in mid-life or later. The example of this daunting feat, though, does not imply that we all have to set extreme goals to become the best on the planet in something. If that’s what you want, fine. Go beat some 20-something hipsters at their own game now! Nyad’s example is more simply that we should never stop setting goals. Chasing dreams and achieving specific goals gives us direction. It gives us focus to our day. It brings us peace because we know what we want each day.

But as we get older and give more thought to family, work, aches and pains we probably begin to sabotage ourselves. Or maybe we can just blame it on our brains. Psychologists have found that the more we fantasize about our ambitions, the less likely we are to achieve them. We visualize the success so completely, that we let up on the motivation to actually achieve it. Furthermore, our mind loves robotic motion, i.e., busy work. It gravitates toward work that gets “something” done, but not the kind of work that produces measurable results.

And that’s where, again I say, I could kick Diana Nyad’s butt. I’m such a champ at busy work that I’ve branched off into the related sport of complaining that I can’t accomplish any of my dreams because I’m just so “busy.”

 or you feel about to go over the edge
 photo 9413_DianaNyad3_zpsa030b0a0.jpg

Instead of those young literary or technological upstarts who were already on the way down by the age of thirty I’m going to join the ranks of those who followed dreams after mid-life. It’s really not that hard, I decided. Today after spending half the day researching phones, phone plans, and the process of switching from one provider to another, then researching it all again after lunch because, well, you know, choosing the perfect phone can make or break a life, I was all ready to put hand to head in a dramatic fashion and say (although there was no one but the dog to see), “Oh woe is me! I’m too tired/there is not enough time left in the day/my mind is too muddled with phone business to sit down and get any writing done. I guess I’ll make a frozen pizza and go to bed.”

But then I pulled up my big girl panties and decided Ms. Nyad didn’t get to be the only one to have an aim in life and follow through. I sat down at the computer and sketched out bits and pieces for essays, THEN followed it up by writing the blog piece I should have published Tuesday.

(and the crowd goes wild! cheers cheers cheers!)

Share in the comments box what gets you off track from setting or achieving goals. How do you regain that motivation?

I’m finally getting around to watching the Netflix series “House of Cards,” starring Kevin Spacey and a terrific cast. Seriously – it’s a reason to subscribe to Netflix. He recently gave a speech at the Edinburgh Television Festival about the future of mainstream media. And what does this have to do with being Diana Nyad? Nothing, really. Except perhaps it reminds us how much people with vision can accomplish. You really should watch him say many smart things that matter to all of us.


Nadine Feldman said...

First, I love House of Cards! We just started watching it this last week.

Second, aging sucks. At nearly 55, I'm finally hitting menopause, and Mama ain't happy. I used to sleep like the dead, and now I'm bouncing off the walls in the wee hours. I also discovered that if you Google "menopause nightgowns," you get a lot of hits.

Third, Diana Nyad! I think I need to put her picture somewhere prominent in my house to remind me when I'm feeling whiny to keep going (and due to paragraph #2, I'm whiny a lot more than I would like to be).

Julie Farrar said...

Yes, it sucks. But just because it sucks doesn't mean I have to make everyone aware of its total suckiness. So I'm trying to find other things to think about. And when we're in Seattle next year, you'll have to show me what a menopause nightgown looks like. I'm afraid to google the term.

Cheryl @ TFD said...

Good for Diana...I guess. Haha! I'm 3 years older than she is and I couldn't swim the length of a swimming pool now. Pitiful, isn't it? Aging isn't for sissies, as they say. She is way smarter than I am by keeping herself in tiptop shape. Of course, having a goal like she had helps.

I suppose I should have had a goal of being in the best of health I could be, but somehow it all just sneaks up on you. I'm trying my best to enjoy life and ignore the problems that come with aging the best I can. Some days are better than others.

Take care!

Sharon Wagner said...

I could beat her in complaining about the cold water. After the first few seconds. Incredible.

Julie Farrar said...

Me too, Sharon. Me too.

Related Posts with Thumbnails