These are the women I read. I hope you find inspiration here, too.
My driver Simon, here in Kenya, bought a new bundle of time, which allowed me to use my Internet while we were driving the five hours from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara.
On the way, I caught up with this great piece by the remarkable and unstoppable Diana Nyad:
From her piece:
I am realistic. The skin, especially this sun/seawater exposed skin of mine, has taken a beating at this point. Gravity is doing its prescribed work on skin, breasts, muscle tissue. And so what? I figure every minute I spend fixated on the aging factors I see in the mirror is a minute I just missed living.
A few years back, in my early days on Medium, I wrote an article which noted her, and someone wrote me back, a young white guy, who clearly had a mean and nasty hard-on about Nyad. He had spent an inordinate amount of his own life attempting to debunk her, her achievements and her life. To my mind he debunked himself, which is what happens when we become a heat-seeking missile to hurt others. What he did was reinforce my interest in her, and her life. There is only one like her, mistakes, warts and all.
Like all of us.
She is turning 72, and still killing it. She’s got just a few years on me and I bloody well hope I can even begin to be in that kind of shape.
To contrast, Vicki Larson penned a great piece which spoke right to the beating heart of what I care most about:
Larson and I have the same interests albeit we come at this differently, which is why her work interests me. This article is my favorite of hers to date, for it gets in your face and mine about being “too old for this shit.”
You and I do not have to be a super-geezer to be fully in life. As I write this, in less than an hour I will be on my final game drive in my second week in Central Africa. Luck doesn’t get me here, hard work does. My body is covered with scratches and bruises, my hands are taped for arthritis, I could go on but I am here and in the game. That’s just me. What is fully in life for you?
Larson’s second line says it all for me:
”Isn’t aging just a process of becoming new versions of ourselves?”
I returned to adventure travel with a passion. This IS me. As I barrel towards the big 70, I am releasing sports I no longer like, focusing on training, letting go of things that no longer serve. As my skin continues to crinkle like my mother’s did, I just let it the hell GO.
The muscles beneath that skin are powerful, just as they are on Nyad. What we work for is far more likely to be ours, most particularly if you and I can release those things the waters of our life need to carry away. Those are the flotsam of youth and beauty, the emphasis on productivity, having vs. being.
We have choices, many of us, not all, please, I am well aware. This isn’t that article. This is about choosing to become that new version. I hope you read both articles and start asking what on earth is coming down the river towards you, rather than watching it being swept away by time.
From Larson’s article:
That doesn’t mean we have to learn a new language or take tango lessons or pursue acting at midlife. We become new versions of ourselves by reading, gardening, walking, caring for grandchildren or doing nothing more than daydreaming — simple things. We don’t have to entirely re-create ourselves. (author bolded)
Precisely. So many of us don’t even begin to discover or rediscover ourselves until after forty, or fifty, or beyond. I sure as hell didn’t.
I knew I passionately loved adventure travel but..
I didn’t give myself permission to do what I most wished to do until I was nearly sixty.
More and more smart people are writing about what’s next and why not as we age. I am hardly the only one. I really hope you attend and, in attending, start asking yourself what on earth is keeping you grounded? Why not you? Why not now? What would it take?