I turned 55 a few days ago. It’s the speed limit birthday, the double nickel, the best domino on the table!
They say 60 is the new 40, but it was an aging Baby Boomer who came up with that malarkey!
They also say you’re only as old as you feel! That’s no comfort! I feel like a Model T!!
A redeeming factor about turning 55 is a “senior discount”! Can I get an amen, or oh me!?
IHOP just changed their name, which always sounded like an energetic rabbit jumping up and down, or where a one legged person works. Now they call it IHOb, which sounds like I can’t hop anymore so I hobble. Way to make to me feel bad about myself, IHObble!!
Anyway, now I can stick my chest out and proudly say, “I want the senior discount, pleasel!” You can save 10% on senior orders! I can’t wait to hop into IHOb and order soft scrambled eggs, grits, biscuits and gravy…all the foods you can gum if you forget your teeth in a glass on the nightstand.
In a way, senior discounts are kind of an insult too, but if I can save a few pennies, bring on the walking cane and Depends! In fact, it’d make my day if some cashier carded me because they thought I was lying about being 55!
It won’t happen. Nope. I looked 55 twenty years ago!
Ten years ago I was in a lumber yard with one of my sons. I don’t remember which son, which is also a signature characteristic of the 55 plus club, but I do remember buying drill bits and 2x4s. When I checked out, the gum smacking college girl scanning the items asked, “Do you want the senior citizen discount?”
I was stunned! Wide mouthed I stared at her while she tried to get the last bit of flavor from her sour apple gum. I asked how old I had to be to get the discount. “Fifty-five or older”, she smacked, “but only if you have a Senior Citizen’s Discount Club Card.”
By now my son was slapping his knee in hysterical laughter. I joked, “Hmm…well, I have a birthday next week, and then I’ll be 55!”
Exasperated, like I had just asked her to embezzle money from the IRS, she said, “Sir! Then I can NOT give you the discount until next week!”
To the delight of my son, she was dead serious. I wanted to mumble something about how my hip hurt and she needed to speak louder so I could hear, but since I was 45 at the time, the humiliation of the encounter was already enough.
Five years ago, a clothing store cashier tactfully asked if I “knew” anyone who would “want” to be in the 55 Plus Club. Good grief!!
The seesaw in my mind began bouncing up and down with pros and cons: 20% savings on Tuesdays! But then again, I’ll be 55 years old! 55 isn’t old if you’re a California redwood tree in the national forest…or a 200 year old sea turtle…that’s just getting started.
But then, 55 in human years is 385 in dog years!
The mental tug of war went back and forth until I realized that at 55 I may start chewing something that’s not really in my mouth. I’ll have to start taking Geritol, drinking Metamucil in glasses of prune juice, and wearing shorts with black socks and dress shoes! That ain’t right!
But then again, isn’t it a privilege to grow older, even if it’s not gracefully? Sure beats the alternative!
I remember my sophomore year in high school when Scott and I were in the same health class. In the last class of a Friday in May, we were partners practicing CPR. We drug our feet and were the last ones to demonstrate CPR for a grade, and we let it rip!
The coach who taught the class wasn’t amused at all, but everyone else was. We hammed it up, laughed and joked our way through the CPR steps without a thought that one day we may need it. When the bell rang, Scott went left out the door, and I went right. It was the last time I ever saw him.
Late the next night, Scott ran a stop sign on his motorcycle, broad sided a car and broke his neck when he hit the pavement. By chance, a doctor was the first one on the scene and immediately began working on Scott using – CPR. He died on a life flight to the hospital.
I remember Philip who died of cancer in 2nd grade, Russell who died of leukemia in 7th grade, and Raymond who died in an auto accident right after he graduated. Over the years, there have been countless losses, all familiar faces who are no longer here.
I wonder what they would think if we could fast forward time from then until now to see what life looks like. What would they ask? What would they want to know? What would they ask to see? What would they think about all the changes in the world from what we knew back then?
Even more basic, why didn’t they have the chance to experience the changes and live more life? What makes me so privileged that I get to be here? How’s that fair? How’s that right? I don’t know. I really don’t know.
It’s OK to laugh about getting older, but ONLY if you never forget the privilege and blessing it is to have the chance to age and turn gray in the first place.
It’s only right to be thankful for the opportunity to grow older. Scott, Philip, Russell and Raymond didn’t get the chance.
On the other hand, I’ll go down swinging before I put my teeth in a glass at night and wear Depends all day in the “home”. Now, if I could just remember where I left my reading glasses so I can find the Metamucil…