I Am NOT a Senior; I Am Merely Eligible for Senior Discounts!

For years, I have lived in a state of self-induced denial, in which I have refused to believe I was getting older.  Yes, there was that pesky arthritis in my knees.  My balance wasn’t great.  My hair was turning into what my hairdresser kept insisting was a fabulous shade of gray.  My hearing was gradually getting worse.  I took so much medicine every day that I felt like a walking pharmacy.  So what?  I still felt like a 20-year-old inside, and everyone was saying that 60 was the new 40, which made me, at most, middle-aged.  I could deal with being middle-aged.

For years, I resisted joining my local senior center.  My Italian grandmother, who lived into her 90s, used to go to her senior center a lot.  I loved my grandmother very much, but the idea that I, myself, might profit from a senior center never entered my brain.  I saw them as places for white-haired 90 year-olds.  I had a way to go yet before reaching THAT milestone.

No, this isn't me.  She looks like she's enjoying herself, though.

This year I turned 70.  To most people, that means I am now old.  To me, it just means I have hit the new 50, which is still smack into middle age.  I refuse to leave middle age until I am good and ready, or until I die of old age, whichever comes first.

At 65, I became eligible for senior discounts.  This is a holdover from the days when almost everyone retired at 65.  Most people still retire by their late 60s, but more and more people are still working full-time.  I was working full-time up until a few months ago, and the only reason I am not STILL working full-time is because I was laid off.  I turned 70 a few months ago, so maybe it’s about time.  I still want to work, but at something I actually like to do.  That’s a whole other story for another essay.

If I meet someone like this at the senior center,
I will be content.
My book Opera for People Who Don’t Like It was published back in October, and I thought it would be great to give a reading/book signing at one of the local senior centers.  In the process of talking about this with their activities director, it occurred to me that they had some nice stuff at that center.  I found out that most of it was free of charge to members.  This included exercise classes, art and craft classes, writing workshops, lectures, first-run movies (every Wednesday), trips and really cheap lunches.  I decided that it was silly not to take advantage of these things, so I took out a membership, which also turned out to be free of charge.

I can also ride the New York City buses and subways at a considerable discount.  I don’t mind taking advantage of that, either.

So here I am, a 70 year-old middle aged woman, taking free belly dancing, yoga and meditation classes and getting caught up with some of the movies that I don’t get to see in my local AMC Loews.  (Yes, I go to movies, usually on Saturday mornings with a group of friends, all of them younger than I am.  I am becoming a real lover of action movies in IMAX 3D.  I didn’t think I would ever say that.)

I know I won’t live forever on this planet, but for the time being it’s nice to live as if I still have a whole lifetime ahead of me.

... like these two!


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