The Old Women and The Sea..

No..this isn’t a sequel to Hemingway’s Pulitzer prize winning novella..

The Old Man and The Sea

Hemingway's last major work of fiction..

It’s a post about stepping outside of your comfort zone..

So tell me..when is the last time you challenged yourself..or did something new just for the sake of it?…when you knew that the only thing you were going to gain was a sense of personal satisfaction and accomplishment.. when you knew that there was no monetary reward? ..when you didn’t have to do it as a requirement for some course or job?

If you’re anything like’s been a while.  Call me opportunistic, but as I get older I’m finding that I only undertake certain hobbies/challenges/tasks..when they are sure to yield tangible results.  I think it’s a combination of maximizing my time and making sure I put forth effort into only the most worthwhile things.  Life is short after all..

Let me demonstrate..

The last thing I did to challenge myself (well apart from moving to Beirut) was start this blog.  And to be quite honest..if it hadn’t taken off like it probably would’ve died just like my last blog!!  (I have no problem walking away from something when it seems like it’s just not working out).  But thankfully, knowing that people are reading what I write..and some even taking the time to comment, is what keeps me coming back time and time again.

Where did all of this come from? ..

Well my 50 year old Mom competed in a ocean swim relay race this weekend around the island of Key West, the southernmost point of the continental United States.  My Mom and her swim-mates (average age, 48) have been training for months for this event..going to practice 2, sometimes 3 times a week.  And all to be able to work towards a challenging goal.  (And I suppose as a means to keep in shape..but surely there are easier ways.. right? Hellooo elliptical machine!)  I put my mom and her team mates (they called themselves  “The Old Women and The Sea” for the Key West race, hence the title of this post) in the same league as people who train for marathons and triathlons..  Writing this reminds me of a fellow blogger Lindsay who ran her first half-marathon, participated in her first triathlon, and ran 75 miles all in the month of May!  I don’t know where people get the inspiration, motivation, and energy to train for such things.. But I definitely admire them!

Key West, Florida

Greetings from Key West!

Swim around  Key West

Map of the relay race..

Now,..back to my Mom..I wouldn’t exactly call her a risk taker.  She’s very ok with always coloring inside of the lines if you know what I mean.  So when I first found out that she was going to participate in an ocean swim AROUND Key West..I was shocked!  This was sooo out of character for her!  At the time, I was still in Beirut and I hadn’t decided to come back home for the Summer naturally I was really worried about not being there should anything go wrong.  But the tables turned, and I was able to accompany my Mom and her swim-mates while she participated in one of the most adventurous/daring/crazy things she’s ever done in her life.

Swim around Key West

The swimmers in action..

Swim around Key West

The ladies swam in groups of two to help them navigate the waters..

Spending the weekend with this group of incredibly inspiring women really put things into persepective for me..and made me feel like I need to take a different approach to life.  These women are all career woman (or were at some point), have children, and have accomplished a lot in their lives..yet, despite that..they still wanted to challenge themselves..isn’t that just soooo admirable?  I mean, they were just BEAMING with pride after completing the 12 mile ocean swim.  And I couldn’t help but be so attracted to their energy and their contagious sense of accomplishment.  Did I mention these women are at or around 50, and only started their swimming hobby a year and a half ago? yah..just incredible.

Swim around Key West

My Mom (at the far left) and her fellow swim mates during the award ceremony!

Key West Conchs

My Mom's trophy..a conch shell! They won 2nd place in the 6 person relay swim 😀

So while I think about new ways to challenge myself..I turn the attention to you..when was the last time you challenged yourself to step outside of your comfort zone?


Filed under Miami

8 responses to “The Old Women and The Sea..

  1. hmmm.. thought-provoking. i guess starting my own blog and putting up my portfolio online was my latest challenge and a very hard one i suppose. i tend to give up very easily on things. but i should definitely think of a newer challenge, something more daring.

  2. Youssef Chaker

    first and formost, BIG UPS to ‘mom’. I can only begin to imagine the sense of pride and accomplishment you must feel after this. And I can definitely sense the pride in Dani’s words. In fact, i’m happy for both you 🙂

    as for challenging myself, i’ve got two things. they are not as challenging as swimming around Key West, or running in 4 deserts (like one Lebanese guy did). my first challenge was a year ago when I got myself back into the gym after my back problems started and got myself to do (10xPullups + 20xPushups + 30xSitups + 40xSquats)x5 in under 15 minutes.

    my second challenge was quitting my job and co-founding a startup knowing that I do not have any financial backing from anyone and if I fail I’ll be in deep s**t! And now I am working on succeeding in this last challenge in the hopes of being able to take on another one afterwards.

    As for you Dani, give yourself a bit more credit. Your move to Beirut probably exercised and pushed to the limit every single fiber in your body and spirit. And no training could have prepared you for it.

    • Mom

      Thank you so much for your comments Youssef! It was great to have Danielle come back just in time to accompany me on the trip to Key West – it made it that much more special for me. Best of luck with your start up. Based on all the feedback you have given to Danielle on her blog, I have no doubt that you did lots of planning and research before going into your venture and hopefully that has set you up for great success.

  3. Nick

    while clearly not unique, (duh!) moving to Beirut this summer qualfies as something well and truly outside of our box. Last “biggy” was having kids- and that was a bit ago. Also, doing a couple of ocean passages on a sailboat- last one in the early 90’s soo…

    Anyway, really good post.

  4. Wow! 12 miles!! My swim was only 750 meters and it was HARD. Big congrats to your mom! And thanks for the mention.

  5. 12 Miles is an impressive for anyone. Kudos to your mom and her remarkable friends who once again proved that anything is possible. One has to believe n put in the effort to achieve his goal no matter what it is.
    Dany, you achieved a lot in moving to Lebanon.

    Looking forward to your next post girl

  6. Mom

    Thanks Danielle for featuring us in your post. It was an accomplishment I’ll remember and be talking about for the rest of my life, I’m sure. I have to clarify for your readers though … I did not do the entire 12.5 miles – we shared it between the seven swimmers so it’s not as impressive as they may have thought, but for us “old women” who only picked up up our swimming hobby recently, it was a real challenge. We swam for 30 minutes each at the beginning and then for periods of 10 – 20 minutes according to the conditions and ability to switch swimmers (some sections were really shallow and the accompanying boat could not get close enough for us to change swimmers). We mostly trained in a pool and only had 3 opportunities to actually swim in the ocean prior to the event, so it was more than a little scary for us all. Dealing with the waves, thick sea weed in some places, and the thought of the possibility of encountering sea turtles, manatees, manta rays, and worse …. sharks and barracudas, were the worst part for me! Driving by a little island called Shark Key just prior to arriving at Key West didn’t do anything to help that fear. But we did it without a hitch and are all very pleased at ourselves. I’ve overheard some of the ladies talking about next year … but for me, I think this’ll be a “once in a lifetime” event!

  7. parrotzmom aka dianaejennings

    Kudos to Mom (from another, almost 50-year-old, Mom)… I step outside of my comfort zone ALL the time, but not physically lately. I’ve spent most of my professional life being vaguely or overtly uncomfortable – this is how we grow, right?

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