Combing this past week’s news stories for a song idea was fairly discouraging – I can’t find anything funny about the possibility of air strikes against Syria, not to mention the human rights atrocities there. I’ve already done a song about Congressional gridlock, the sequester just keeps getting more depressing, and while Anthony Weiner has made a few headlines, it’s been for rage-aholic rants, not for titillating texts. Moreover, I realized many of my weekly songs are my way of responding to unpleasant news, hoping to find some humor in what otherwise would have me yelling, Weiner-style, at the computer, t.v. screen or newspaper.
But one happy story popped up, and not only is it good news, it’s also completely bipartisan, non-political yet totally newsworthy, and makes me smile whenever I think about it – Diana Nyad’s record-shattering swim from Cuba to Florida. After finally achieving a feat she’d been attempting unsuccessfully since 1978, as she emerged from the water she made three quoteable points, including a graceful acknowledgment of the team supporting her, but the one that struck me was “You’re never too old to chase your dreams.”
We have longer life expectancy today than ever before, and yet our culture still puts such a premium on youthful achievement that we feel like failures if we haven’t won a Tony Award or been a celebrity guest playing ‘Not My Job’ on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” by the age of 30. (Or made our first million, or won an Olympic medal, or dated a member of One Direction, or whatever your particular dream happens to be.) So to celebrate the achievements of a woman who’s been eligible for AARP for 14 years gives me renewed faith in possibilities for those of us over 50. (Which is when you start getting those AARP mailers, as if it wasn’t hard enough to hit that milestone!)
So I am celebrating Ms. Nyad’s accomplishment in song, as well as acknowledging other feats achieved by AARP-eligible folks. And sure, I haven’t really had any videos go viral (despite the line I love to use from my 17-year-old, who saw that a few had topped 1,000 views and informed me that it was ‘viral for old people’), but who knows? It took Diana Nyad 35 years from her first attempt to achieve her dream – and posting youTube videos is much less strenuous!
“Diana’s Song (You’re Never Too Old To Chase Your Dreams)”