Do you know who this woman is?
No, she’s not the Amazing Albino Woman of Pigsknuckle (good guess, though). Nor is she the Borg Queen on her wedding day. She is Jennifer Figge, a 56-year-old American woman who just completed a 2,000 mile swim across the Atlantic, from the Cape Verde Islands to Trinidad. She’s 56. And she swam 2,000 miles, my friends (yes, I know I said it twice… it was for effect). I calculated the other day how many laps I’d have to swim to cover just two miles and I felt a little ill. So, in my book, even though she’s not albino, Pigsknucklian, or Borg, she is still pretty damned amazing.
Reading about her swim was a good thing for me to do this week. You know how you feel when your birthday approaches? Those of you under 30 have possibly never experienced this (mark my words, though... you will), but you spend a good bit of time thinking about how old you’re getting and what you have or haven’t accomplished in your life (and unfortunately, it’s usually the haven’ts that stick out). You think about your regrets and your ‘coulda/shoulda/wouldas’. You re-evaluate the direction in which you’re moving (or aren’t), as well as your goals. You dig out your Bucket List and realize there are still a whole lotta un-done items on it.
Yeah. That’s where I’ve been for the past couple of weeks (and by ‘weeks’, I mean ‘years’). Right. In. That. Spot. Don't get me wrong... I like being in my 40's. I wouldn't go back. But I haven't done enough with them yet.
I read this great magazine regularly… More. It’s designed for women over 40 and its mission is to show us all that, if we choose, we can see the 2nd half of our lives as a new beginning… or the beginning, for those of us who put ourselves and the business of living on hold for whatever reason. Every month I grab it up and settle in with a cup of tea to read about women in their 40’s and 50’s and 60’s, who are doing amazing things, often for the first time. And I’m reminded that like them, I am getting older. And like them, I can choose to do things I’ve never done. I can choose a new direction for my life if I’m not happy with the old one. I can choose to take full advantage of the freedom that comes with age – that wonderful sense of ‘I don’t really give a flip what people think.’ I have no choice about getting older (the alternative, quite frankly, sucks), but I can choose to get better.
So Jennifer Figge has been added to my hero list. Not because she swam 2,000 miles (but damn, people… 2,000 miles!). No, she’s my new hero because she believed she could do it, even though logic and common sense (and probably a fair number of relatively sane people) told her it was a task not worth taking on at 56.
I’m guessing Jennifer Figge thinks she’s getting better with age. And I’m choosing to travel that road, too. I’m just not going swim it. Just sayin’.
Note: There seems to be some dispute regarding exactly how many miles Jennifer Figge swam and it seems her total is much less than originally reported. Regardless, in my book, she still did a pretty amazing thing, so I'm not removing her from my hero list!