I'm not only referring to the sure-to-be models in gym advertisements (and sadly none of them go to my gym) nor am I talking about your gym's resident Amazon, bodybuilder, or eighty year old grandmother. Specifically, I'm referencing the women around my age--regardless of whether or not they are physically attractive--that spend time on physical conditioning for no greater reason than selfish desire.
Allow me to explain...
I work out, Monday thru Friday at seven in the morning. I am not a morning person. I love to sleep; it is one of the greatest human past times and the single area of life in which I excel. No one has to go the gym and anyone who goes early in the morning isn't necessarily vain but I would argue that they are making a commitment to satisfy their ego: there is no other reason to be awake and putting yourself through such physical stress at that hour.
I know many women who say they are going to start or, "start back" working out. Most of them never get around to it and the few who do are so irregular that they shouldn't even bother. I saw a new girl at the gym last week. When you work out this early faces tend to become familiar and newcomers are treated with silent skepticism.
Only she wasn't new. She usually worked out in the evenings but her schedule at work had changed and her grad school classes demanded she work out in the morning. She wasn't happy about it, but there she was, and even more striking , there she has been everyday since.
The gift of my generation seems to grow weaker with time. We were the kids that set our parents VCR's to tape their shows at the appropriate hour and straightened out the Rubix's Cube because if left unfinished our failure would present us with a headache. We didn't innately know how to do either of these tasks (and in the case of the VCR we couldn't always read and/or understand the instructions), but our generation is blessed with a stick-to-it-till-it's-done gift that wouldn't let us walk away. Perhaps the obstacles were smaller and less significant as children but today overcoming greater challenges only makes the success more satisfying.
Today, I feel we give in too easily and acquiesce to the psychological excuses that our parent's generation make for our short comings. Instead of persevering through the pain and achieving what we really want, we revel in mediocrity and consolse ourselves with society's lowered expectations. It would be a terrible crime to waste our unique gifts on the preceding, and quiete literally dying, generation that came before us. Surely we owe them a debt of gratitude but this is too much.
As to the girls at the gym who wake up at six-thirty to be there by seven...they're sexy. Most of them unknowingly exercise the same devotion and zeal to a given project that all of us utilized as children. Their determination refuses to allow them to give up on an established routine, even if it's only maintenance of their body's status quo; just like a younger sister I have that wouldn't get off the couch until she was certain our mother wouldn't miss any of her soaps for the week we were on vacation.
Pride and ego aren't always bad things.
The obstacles that keep an adult from what we really want to do get even more complex than work, and school as we grow older, but if it is something important, we manage to find time. It's the people who tell you what they did, or are presently doing--not those who speak in future tense--that we, as a people, admire most. Those who sit around musing upon doing, "this and that" we generally have no patience with because we can muse in much the same light. It's hard to tell an interesting story about something you haven't done.
As for me and my character, say what you will, but in a way the attributes of at least this particular girl in the gym, are more attractive than today's supermodels and infinetly more enduring.