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The Journey or the Destination

The Journey or the Destination

Today I am feeling inspired by Diana Nyad. This 64-year-old babe has accomplished her more then 3 decade long dream, by finally on her 5th attempt, swimming from Cuba to Florida. We are talking about 110 miles chock full of sharks and jelly fish!!

Honey I just turned 49 and I am feeling it. Lately I have noticed that my knees hurt after a long day of cooking, that my feet fall asleep when I sit at my desk too long, that no matter how much I work out and watch what I eat, I put on weight in seconds! Part of me says, “50 is just a year away! Then its down-hill on roller skates!”

But I look at Diana, at Diana who says she is stronger now then she was at 28 when she first tried the swim, at Diana who goes back into the water knowing what it felt like to be stung by jelly fish to have large predators swimming below her, knowing exactly what she is getting into; brave, stoic, humble and patient Diana. Imagine if she had given up at age 50.

She added 14 years to that 50 and kicked it in the butt!

On ABC today in her interview with Robin Roberts, (a woman who knows a lot about survival herself) Diana talked about the journey. She said the journey was thrilling, meeting the people, looking inside yourself and finding out what you are made of.

Painful yes, but she lived the thrill of the journey.

It got me thinking about this thing called journey.

How often do I get so caught up in finishing and hopefully (please lord!!) publishing a book that I forget to feel the experience of writing?

How often do I get so caught up in hanging my artwork in a show that I forget to inhabit the process of putting brush to canvas?

In reaching the end of a hard day of catering, I often forget to savor that perfect sauce I just finished simmering, or that marinade that came together like magic when I added just a drizzle of fresh lime juice.

Celebrating the journey, is a lesson I should have learned growing up.

My parents carted my sister, brother and myself in our white-trash motel on wheels; the camper, from South Jersey to North Florida every year. I guess some folks can do this trip on I-95 in 3 days, some folks can drive straight through in less, but it took my family a week.

This was a week of stopping at amusement parks, petting zoos, pecan pie stands, the South-of-the-border Mexican souvenir joint, the Thunderbird Inn all-you-can-eat Southern buffet and as many rest stops as my constantly having-to-go-to-the-bathroom family needed which owing to an ample supply of 3-liter diet soda was A LOT!

Arriving in Panama City Florida, was anti-climactic. A summer on the redneck Riviera? 120 degrees in the shade and all the water bugs we could chase out of our bungalow? Not exactly a thrill ride!

But the journey, had offered us an adventure!

Sadly my family as role models offered a mixed message in celebrating the journey in life. No one except for me indulged in this thing called chewing. We could be served the best pasta with the most sublime marinara and it might as well have been corn in a pig’s trough. My brother would suck the whole thing down without using his teeth once. Ditto for my mom and dad. My sister just pushed her food around and asked for money.

I was the only one who took a moment to say, “Wow that tomato sauce was really tasty!” Guess I was destined to become a chef.

I am certainly not saying Diana’s journey was a pleasant one by any means or anything to savor or enjoy. It was more excruciating then most humans could endure but she was living every moment of it.

She was truly living.
“Find a way!” was the motto she used to get thru the hard moments.

Diana said she was faster in her 20’s but stronger now in her 60’s. It’s another tale of the tortoise and the hair and slow and steady wins the race once again.

When she climbed out of the water to the cheering crowd, she said, “You’re never too old to chase your dreams!”

Thank you Diana for reminding us that dreams are ageless and that journey tromps destination!

Now if only I could get my family to chew.

Hmmm Find a way, find a way.