Last week on the subway I read that the youngest person ever, Eleanor Catton, 28, of New Zealand, had won the Man Booker Prize for Literature. At first, I thought, “Wow, what an accomplishment. Good for her. You go girl.” (I didn’t say this out loud, don’t worry). But then the newspaper just couldn’t help rub it in…
They proceeded to list other amazing people who had accomplished great things by the tender age of 28. Apparently, Michelangelo sculpted the Pieta at 24, Einstein had published his famous paper on relativity at 26, and Mark Zuckerberg was a billionaire by 23. What was strange about this list (aside from the fact that Mark Zuckerburg made it on a list with two of the greatest minds of all time) is that it started to make me feel bad about myself. I went from, “You go girl, “ to “Stupid Kiwi biaach,” (again not out loud….but almost).
Later I recognized that my first reaction was more genuine and less manipulated by the silly list. I also realized that as a writer of a blog on age, I should be more sensitive to how age doesn’t determine your worth and that we all do things in our own time. These words calm me still as a little part of me wants a prize for literature, even though I’ve never finished a novel.
I have to keep reminding myself that my plan is different but also that I too accomplished some great things before 28. They weren’t published in the newspaper or discussed on morning talk shows, but I still think they were pretty cool. So allow me indulge a moment and publish them here.
By 28 I had learned a third language, started my own business, and married the man of my dreams.
So, I wish Eleanor Catton the best with her novel The Luminaries and Mark Zuckerberg the best with his billions and I look forward to joining the list of famous accomplishments before 40.
What’s your list? I’d love to hear it and publish it for you here!