The Significance of 3 Million Yards

It has been 3 weeks since I was last in the water, and it will probably be another week before I get in any meaningful yards. During that time I've had a chance to reflect back on the past few months. I found that each day on this journey is important, and while I created 3 Million Lives - 3 Million Yards to help others grasp the immense loss resulting from suicide, it has turned out to have it's greatest impact on me. 

Each day as I laid out my workout for the day, I was mindful of the need to get in a sufficient number of yards swimming, not only to properly prepare myself for the swims ahead, but also to be sure that I stay on track to reach 3 million yards. While the months immediately preceding each of my major swims will require a greater number of yards, even at this early stage in my training I should be getting in at least 100,000 yards a month. That is a staggering number, but it is shocking when you think of the people it represents. Swimming a typical workout of 5,000 yards in a day, represents the fact that 5,000 people worldwide died from suicide.

There is a strange tension in the equation. I want to swim the 3 million yards to bring attention to the 3 million lives lost, but in swimming them I am constantly reminded of the immensity of the loss. Emotionally, this has been difficult. How could I expect other people to comprehend the significance of these numbers when I was struggling to accept them for what they are: people killing themselves. I can only imagine how hard it would be to bear the pain of the loss of a single person, but what of the millions of others who die, or the even greater number of people left behind asking why.

My intention was that would help people see, that the small efforts I was making in the pool were adding up quickly, and that small donations from a large number of people could add up just as quickly. However, upon reflection it's clear that the number of people affected is so large, and the significance of the numbers so overwhelming, that developing an appreciation of this pandemic in a short period of time is impossible. It needs to soak in slowlyIt is a lesson learned along the way, and I am sure it will not be the last.. 3 Million Lives

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