It amazes (and depresses) me that at the spring-chicken age of twenty-eight, I’m too old for a lot of things. For example, we’ve just finished the Olympics—that magical sporting event that throws all of us couch potatoes or once-in-a-blue-moon gym enthusiasts into a veritable explosion of motivation to tone up and slim down in order to look just like those uber-athletes on TV. All those rippling muscles, perfectly toned limber bodies, and smiles that exude health drive us into a frenzy of gym memberships not seen since the last round of New Year’s Resolutions.
Now, this is all very fine and well, and getting in shape is a wonderful thing, blah, blah, blah. However, let us remember the dedication and extreme number of hours that these people put in. This isn’t a hobby or a get-fit fad for them; this is their job. Now, my job involves sitting at a desk most of the day. I don’t know about yours, but I would think that most of you out there do pretty much the same one way or another. When I’m done with the desk-sitting, followed by my personal-life paperwork, I can assure you that the last thing I feel like doing is pouring myself into some lycra and hitting the gym. I do have to get regular physicals and health exams in my job and I do have to maintain some modicum of fitness, but my job isn’t to be fit.
Which brings me back to my original point—I’m too damn old. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not too old to get fit or even to magically grow a six-pack, if I wanted to expend that much time and energy (which I don’t, hence the reason you will never see me in a bikini). However, I am over the professional athlete hill. The debate over the little Chinese gymnast’s age is a prime example of this: Is she fourteen? Is she sixteen? As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t really matter because within a decade or so she probably won’t be either willing or able to compete at that level anymore, so let the little darling do it while she still can. Sport is for all ages; professional-level sport is for those who can’t remember where they were when the Challenger exploded.
Sport came to mind purely because of the Olympics being so fresh in my head. However, we can also draw on other high-profile industries, like movies for example. If you’re not famous or at least moderately well-known by the time you’re thirty, forget about it. And anyone who is just getting to the famous level by their early thirties has more than likely been working on it since their mother was driving them to auditions. Singing? Forget it. TV? No chance. I am simply too old for celebrity now. However, my one shining beacon of light is J.K Rowling. Look at this amazing woman who went from barely scraping by on government handouts to being wealthier than the Queen! Never mind that she is a brilliant writer, pulled herself out of poverty with her own imagination, encouraged millions of zoned-out little TV addicts to pick up a book, and managed to get hundreds of thousands of adults to read a children’s book and truly enjoy it—she is living proof that it is possible to “celebratize” oneself after the age of thirty.
In short, I wish I’d had a special talent as a child that would have catapulted me to fame and fortune. I didn’t. I wish as an adult I had the willpower to get six-pack abs. I don’t. My best hope is to come up with the next amazing thing in children’s literature and go from there. In the meantime, I’ll try to remind myself that being single and childless at twenty-eight is a form of celebrity all its own.