I can’t believe I’m sneaking up on the double nickel. What is it about fifty five that feels so much older than fifty one, two, three or four? A few years aren’t really much in the scheme of things, especially today, when the average life expectancy is seventy nine. I guess what bugs most of us whose age matches the speed limit, is that fifty five is the age when you are pretty much branded a Senior Citizen. Yuck! It sounds horrible. I don’t care if I live to be a hundred I still don’t think I’ll like referring to myself as a senior citizen.
Pride and vanity have to be the culprits, because there are many extremely active senior citizens in the circle of my life. Most are still working full time jobs, some even raising small children. Yikes, that’s a scary thought. What happened to the days when people planned for early retirement at fifty five? Very few people can afford to retire at seventy now. The words senior citizen and retirement used to go hand in hand. At least that gave a person a reason to be excited about turning fifty five.
Now the reason to be happy about crossing the dreaded threshold is senior discounts. Restaurants from Outback Steakhouse to MacDonald’s offer 10% discounts and Denny’s gives a bonus 10% to AARP members. Speaking of AARP, I’ve been getting membership offers from them for a long time. It’s just another thing that screams SENIOR! I refuse to join not just because I disagree with many of their political viewpoints, but because it feels like throwing in the towel to senoirship.
Since the Social Security Administration and the airlines don’t consider me a senior until I’m sixty five, that’s when I’ll allow others to consider me one. My husband likes to tease me about becoming a senior. If fifty five is the age he’s using to razz me, he’s been a senior for seven years. Tommy has said many times, “If I knew I was going to be this old, I would have taken better care of myself.” I, on the other hand, have always planned to have Willard Scott’s grandson announce my birthday on the Today Show.
I have exercised regularly since I was in my twenties and continue to do so. I’m loving the YMCA where I join in on exercise classes with people my age and plenty who are years older. Many are retired, lucky dogs, and they attend two or three classes in the same day. We’re all trying to take good care of ourselves so we can be around a long time and enjoy all the wisdom we’ve gained over the years.
One of the good things about getting older is you get wiser. If you are like me, and many of the folks I know, you get a little more laid back too. Some things that used to drive me over the edge are now like water off a ducks back. I don’t have the time or the energy to sweat the small stuff anymore.
You know the more I think about it, besides the fact that I need a taller toilet because bending down just isn’t what it used to be, or the fact that hot flashes wake me up in the middle of the night and sometimes plague me throughout the day, getting older isn’t really all that bad.