Building on my Noticeably Remarkable post the other day, I’d like to examine fame and where it comes from. I think it comes from youth.
I don’t mean you have to be young to be famous. I mean that in order to gain fame in the first place, you need an upswell of people with free time and preferably discretionary income to follow you. You need their attention, because you need convert their attention into your power somehow. Getting people to do things, such as spend money or direct their attention on behalf of others who will pay you for this.
Influencers do this as a full-time job. Entertainers of all kinds have to leverage their art for their income, and that means appealing to those with the time to take that entertainment in and money to pay for the privilege.
For those who are not as entertainment-minded, fame can certainly come from riches. Or as I said in my previous post money can always buy fame. Not that the rich need to buy fame, sometimes it’s just one of the many free perks comes with being rich. I know a lot of rich people, as well as a lot of famous people. In my observation, famous people don’t always get to be rich, but rich people get to be famous pretty much anytime they feel like it. By virtue of their wealth alone, others will listen to them as if what they’re saying is important or true. They can direct attention the same as fame.
I purposely missed the boat on youth when I was young. It looked too frivolous and destructive to me, even as a kid. Where most kids try to grow up too fast, I tried to stay little for as long as I could. I always looked younger than I was, and I milked it for all it was worth. Then jumped straight into adulting when I was 22 and living with a 44 year-old woman. I sidestepped all that youthful energy of my peers and set my sights on other things outside its tide, such as healing or history or death & dying.
When I started touring and producing and performing seriously in my 30s, I still looked like I was in my 20s so I could kinda pass at first glance. Again, my intentions and goals were so divergent from my peers that it was obvious to anyone who met me or came to shows or workshops that I was not like them. Even when they tried to give me fame, I turned it around and diffused it for my own ends.
Now that I’m solidly in my 40s (turning 45 this year), I don’t know if I even could appeal to youth as one of their own. Though I tend to think not. Sure I’ve always been a weirdo myself, but I don’t wanna make things weird for other people. Especially not when it comes to age and power dynamics, which can get creepy pretty fast.
I’m of the age now that it seems the expectation is that I should have something to show for it in terms of success. In the financial sense, I don’t have that. At this moment, I don’t even see the possibility of any financial windfall anymore, as I’ve made my own businesses dormant and am now (for the first time in my life) simply working for a salary.
I have a lot of experience in a wide array of useful things. I’ve had some incredibly improbable experiences along the way. I have a ton to offer, and I want to give at scale. I’m reflecting on fame as a way to do this, and wondering now that youth has gone what is still possible for me?
Any thoughts are most appreciated, comment away…