Listen up, all you boomers about to hit 50. That’s the official beginning of seniordom, according to no less authority than AARP, and it’s high time someone took pity on you.
You need a clue to the surprises lurking right around the corner.
I know. I know. You’ve done everything possible to avoid this moment. At the mere mention of “golden” or “silver,” you change the subject. Hear the word “retirement” and you quickly cross your index fingers in front of you, deflecting any notion of evil ages ahead.
Most boomers – not you, of course – are so inwardly turned, so me-me-me that when geezerdom does come to call, they freak. They become even more adamant about their false sense of self-reliance, even more obnoxious in their enthusiastic embrace of all things young.
If it were up to me, you’d never earn geezer status. We don’t want you. You’re not tough enough.
But since it’s inevitable as death and taxes – sorry, I didn’t mean to use the “D” word – here’s a sneak preview of what to expect.
For starters, time and date take on new and bewildering significance. A co-worker’s 15th high school reunion inexplicably starts your fingers twitching as you mentally count backward to 1991, then subtract the year of your own graduation.
Oh my God! you think. I’m 17 years older than she is. I don’t look… Do I? Seventeen years! She could be my daughter. Oh my God!
At age 50 or so, you’ll begin noticing that younger folks of either sex now look right through you – as if you didn’t exist. Shocked, you ask yourself, “When did this start happening?”
You may obsess.
At about 55, you‘ll catch yourself glancing at every available mirror to assess the growth of your – you’d never guess – wattle(s). You know, that skin under your jaw that even now is sagging just a bit.
Well, it is! By 55, this leading indicator of old-fartism is shouting for a chinstrap. But still you won’t bring yourself to use the words “old” and “me” in the same sentence.
Next, you become -how shall I put this? – irrelevant.
Suddenly, you’re the fifth wheel at work, out of the loop more often than not. Your advice is no longer sought. Golf dates no longer reserved.
This is when you start pricing face-lifts, eyelid surgery, hair transplants, and wattle reduction.
Suddenly Trivia: By what date do experts say life expectancy will jump to 120? a) 2025 b) 2050 c) 2075.
And then there’s that matter of, well, forgetfulness. Senior moments, we call them. Those sudden, humiliating mind blanks during which we can’t remember the names of our spouses and first-born.
The first time it happens you fear the immediate onset of Alzheimer’s. But you get used to it.
Fact is, we seniors know a lot; we simply can’t remember it all. Nothing serious, just a mild case of mind-bloat.
One more little surprise: You know how old folks talk 24/7 about their aches and pains, their doctors, their pills and operations?
Trust me, you will too. If you were secretly thinking you’d breeze through the rigors of old age with gene splicing, molecular manipulations, and replacement organs on demand, forget about it.
At 50, you’re already too old to benefit much from current scientific breakthroughs. By the time they trickle down, you’ll be long gone. Sorry.
I suppose that you won’t believe me if I tell you that in spite of all this, you may find your senior years your best ever.
You’ll find new freedom to do what you want and say what you think. You’ll have time to develop hobbies, improve your golf game, and read to your heart’s content.
Once you get away from that “me” thing, you’ll want to help others by volunteering your time and mind. You’ll never believe the rewards until you do it.
And if you haven’t already, you’ll learn the critical importance of friendship and love in your life. You probably won’t believe me now, but that alone is worth the price each of us pays to become a Geezer-First Class.
Suddenly Trivia Answer: b) 2050
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