Aging Gracefully . . . uh, not so much
by Karon Goodman
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I was doing pretty well, given the recurring signs and disappointing reminders of late. I slid right past my doctor’s veiled question about taking my daily calcium. I’d long grown accustomed to the polite “ma’am” from everyone under 30. I was even close to coming to terms with that pushy few pounds that wrapped itself around my middle and refused to leave. But this latest affront is just too much to take.
I got an AARP card in the mail.
What’s wrong with these people? I thought you had to be at least the great young age of 50 to become a member, so what, they have old folks who can’t add running the place now? “I’m not 50 yet – three years, one month and six days to go!” I wanted to scream loud enough that my protests would reach wherever their senile headquarters are.
Apparently they believe they can lure me with their “member benefits” and I’ll forget their insult. Not so fast, Grandpa. Along with the free coffee from my local diner, they tell me I can look forward to these worth-getting-old-for perks. Let’s see . . .
“Information and resources.” Well, maybe you’d like to start there for yourself with my BIRTH CERTIFICATE, Bozo. Yes, it’s true, I could use a good primer on menopause and I need a new eye doctor . . .oh, forget it, I can look it up myself, thank you very much.
“Discounts on travel and other services.” Ha, like I can afford “tours and cruises worldwide.” But I confess, given the condition of me and my wheels, the “emergency towing plan” doesn’t look half bad. Wait, I don’t want to like these mean people, let’s move on.
“Access to health-related benefits.” Yeah, I’m wearing bi-focals, understand the real meaning of “high fiber” and can tell you three days before it rains, what’s it to ya?
“Access to financial programs.” Now we’re talking. Can you explain this gap between my in-coming and out-going balance, show me some math that makes this impending development look more like “National Treasure” and less like “Grapes of Wrath”? I didn’t think so.
“A spokesperson for your rights.” Ah, they’re going to help me fight “age discrimination” – well, excuse me, but shouldn’t they have thought of that before they discriminated against my-still-less-than-50 self? And what about my right to get to that lovely age kicking and screaming all the way? I’ll take it, buster. And I can speak quite well for myself about my right to deny the truth as long as possible, so help me Miss Clairol.
“Community programs and services.” Blah, blah, blah, don’t really care. Do I look like I want to play bingo? You may want to look into one of those neighborhood watch programs for yourself, though, when I find out where you are.
And on and on it goes, but I’m not moved by the shiny red and silver card they sent me to use until my “official membership kit” arrives. The 20-digit authorization code does little to sway my allegiance, and the last thing I want to think about “at my age” is my age. Boy, they’re not very bright, are they?
Heavy sigh. This aging thing is hard to take, and the older I get the more I wish God had made it so that we lived to be 700 or 900 like people in the times of Noah and Moses. I wish I was looking at the very beginning of a life instead of the second half.
It’s not that this age is bad -- it’s just too close to the end, ya know? My mind feels like this can’t be, regardless of what the calendar says. I want to do and see and be so very much more!
And this is where it comes down to trust (and orthopedic shoes, I guess): God knows how much time we need, despite AARP’s obsession, and He’ll make sure that we have it to do and see and be what He’s already chosen.
We’ll build our temples as long as we keep swinging that hammer, even if it takes two hands now and a little longer to get it done. The job remains and we’re still here. That’s what matters and I don’t need a membership to know it.
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I feel I have to share this with you......... One day, recently I was out, shopping at our local Mall, with my hubby. I admit, I am in my 55th year, but, like most women, I pretend I do not acually LOOK MY AGE! Nevertheless, a lady outside a pharmacist, who obviously was promoting a skin care product, actually leapt at me and handed me a bundle of vouchers with 2 dollars off her brand of skin care products! Dopey me said 'Ah, thank you!' until I read the vouchers. It was promoting creams to 'Deal with Aged Wrinkles!' Cheeky Cat! That's the last time I will accept any freebies. Ever-young Veronica
You're funny! And this is so true! If you decide not to join AARP, they keep after you. Good job with this piece. H. Loomis
Yes, I remember so well the first time I got one of those AARP thingies! I felt just like you. But, now, since I'm over 60, I have made peace with it. I still don't use their card for much. In fact, I think the only discount I've found that is to my liking is on a new pair of Rockport tennies at the outlet store (40% off). Great article and many, many of us can definitely relate!
I truly enjoyed your article...with a few chuckles. I am coming from the other side of aging. I have always wondered why people did not want to grow older...Guess I am wierd...I remember back in childhood that I always wanted to be OLDER...Probably because it would give me the privilege of making my own decisions. Sorry, I got off the subject. I will be 80 years old this coming September and I am still working part time and plan to work as long as I am able. Getting older does not have to be "all bad". I have found aging has much to do with "attitude". My body may be almost 80 but my spirit is definetly young and always will be. Hang in there....we cannot change the passing of time, can we? GOD BLESS YOU
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