Don’t dwell on this, but from the moment we are born, we start aging. I am trying to put everything about growing older in perspective. Why is it that we were so excited about our birthdays when we are younger, but as we got older our enthusiasm waned and we started looking at the numbers?
Don’t dwell on this, but from the moment we are born, we start aging. I am trying to put everything about growing older in perspective. Why is it that we were so excited about our birthdays when we are younger, but as we got older our enthusiasm waned and we started looking at the numbers? How many times did we hear “Sweet Sixteen and never been kissed?” That saying caused a great deal of stress in my life because boyfriends were few and far between and I was not allowed to date until I was 16. So of course I lied and said, “I have too been kissed!” Even at that age it was important to save face.
The best part about being 16, 21 or even 40 is that we don’t hear or even use the word aging in reference to ourselves. Once we pass 40, there are plenty of opportunities to act-out as with a mid-life crisis. We start hearing “middle-aged” and the birthday presents referring to being “Over the Hill” start popping up. My personal favorite was a t-shirt that exclaimed: “I’d rather be 40 than pregnant!” But many women today are still having babies in their 40s—bringing new meaning to mid-life crisis.
The 40s are a new beginning for stressful life events and a period of getting a sense of who you are and what you want to accomplish in the remaining half of your life. This period also involves searching for ways to reverse and slow down the inevitable aging process. If 16 is sweet, is 50 bittersweet? Since, at best, half of our life is completed, 50 can be a difficult milestone birthday. It’s hard enough to deal with needing eye glasses and the aches and pains of sore muscles and joints, but then there is menopause. Menopause can be a really easy thing or a really bad thing depending on the amount of physical and emotional discomfort it can bring. To make matters worse, your date of birth has been shared with various organizations and the invitations to join age-appropriate organizations begin to flood the mailbox. It’s time for the AARP Card! Everyone knows that if you have an AARP card, you must be (at least) 50. There are many advantages with this card, I have one and enjoy the magazine and bulletins which give good information about winding your way through old age. The cost is nominal and you can receive savings by using the card for various discounts. The operative word is using. By admitting to having the card, you admit to being a senior and that you now automatically associate the words senior and discount.
When I first turned 50, I was attending an event which offered a $2 discount for those over age 50. I was naïve and, I guess, proud that I didn’t look my age, so I stepped up, AARP card in hand, and asked for the senior ticket. The ticket person offered no contest, so I asked if she needed I.D. She told me that they are not allowed to ask for proof of age. Is it possible that we don’t need to actually carry the AARP card? As I recall I have never been asked to show it when receiving a discount. Do those over age 50 have a certain look, a certain attitude?
One day at an area McDonald’s, I ordered a small coffee. When I got to the window to pay, the server told me that I should have asked for a senior coffee. I was having “discount phobia.” I thought, ‘maybe I do look 50 (or cringe, older) and maybe I should just give up my pride and ask for the discount.’ So, the next time at the drive-thru I requested a small coffee, and after a few starts, I sputtered out, “Do you have senior coffee?” After a long pause, the server asked me if I wanted one. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t cheating, so at another location, I boldly asked for a senior coffee and when I drove up to pay, I asked the server what the actual age of eligibility for the discount was and she said, “Oh, I don’t know, 65, I think.” How did I get so old so fast? I got on their website and found out the McDonald’s discount is actually 55—but don’t worry, they aren’t going to card you for coffee.
The bottom line is that we are not going to get out of this alive—no matter what—so we need to learn to go with the flow. Do what is necessary to enjoy life and if that includes another type of “saving face,” in the literal sense, who cares? If you feel like eating dinner at 4 p.m., it’s your rite of passage. Aging brings wisdom and we should have learned by now how to get along with others even if it only means saying hello and being courteous. Plus, if you really want to flaunt your age and enjoy it, I’m sure the area Red Hat Society has an opening…tpw