For years and years, it seems, I've read, at intervals, stories in the paper about Diane Nyad trying to swim between Cuba and Florida -- freely, not in a shark proof cage. She is now in her 60s and SHE DID IT! I felt a thrill when I saw the picture of a decidedly older woman surrounded by reporters and photographers, obviously rejoicing in her victory.
Hers was a physical triumph and one of will. Most of us don't struggle to attain a physical goal as she did -- that adds a dimension to the impressiveness of her accomplishment. But many of us who have had dreams of attaining this or that goal all our lives reach a point of being worn out by the struggle. We question the importance of what we want to do. We are entirely right to question ourselves, to assess our desires in the light of what we've learned in our lives and sometimes we are right to let a dream fade away, to realize that it was never attainable or is no longer necessary to fulfill our lives. But others will find that, yes, whether or not the goal is attained, the struggle toward it is satisfying, is reward in itself -- it might be a sheaf of poems, a meditation practice, teaching others some skill that we've attained.
I cannot swim across a small pool; I find long distance swimming amazing. I've written all my life and had some successes but nothing big, maybe that will never happen. But writing is how I think, how I express myself and something I can share. It gives me great pleasure and comes as naturally as brushing my hair and teeth. I'll keep on keeping on.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!