I will never compete at the Olympics.
That’s a hard fact. Not that I had expected to one day find myself in a jumpsuit rocketing down a luge course or to be totally stoked after completing a double McTwist (whatever that is) on a snowboard. But I can’t even dream about it at this point. I’m still in my 40s but I might as well be 100. The Olympics are totally off the table.
I have never had the physical prowess or the discipline to be a world-class athlete. Deep down I know that. But what if I had applied myself?
I find myself asking that question a lot lately. I feel like I should have amounted to more at this point in my life. This must be why men buy sports cars and drive around with the top down. In the town I used to live in there was a guy who had to be in his 70s who would cruise around the river in a black convertible blaring old-timey music. A couple of the older ladies in the apartment I lived in “knew all about him.”
I suppose he was having a prolonged or very late mid-life crisis. I feel one coming on myself. The question is what will I do with it and will I be wise enough to come out of it? I don’t want to be a 70-year-old woman wearing a halter top and hot pants to the grocery store.
I don’t want to be a 47-year-old woman wearing a halter top and hot pants anywhere.
I’ve always secretly wanted to be able to sing. I can’t. I shouldn’t. But I do at the top of my lungs in my car. But what if mid-life fear sends me over the edge and I become a regular at karaoke bars, or worse, try to start a band?
I think this is the age where your confidence shrivels up like a petrified clementine, or you try to recapture your best years (if you peaked in high school, forget it), or, eventually, you become Dame Judi Dench—classy, funny, sure-footed, and undeniably fabulous. And if anyone does deny it, I don’t think she’d care. That’s what becoming Judi Dench is about.
It’s a scary crossroad though. You have to be made of sturdy stuff to tap into your inner Denchness.
I’ll need to see clearly too. The key is to avoid stumbling around reaching for what is out of reach while recognizing what is within reach even if my vision isn’t what it used to be.
I have to believe some of what is still within reach is a kind of exclusive greatness.
At the Olympics they call that a personal best. Maybe it’s not too late to dream.