Age is a funny thing. How old do you have to be before you get only one polite candle on a birthday cupcake? Is it time to grin and quote Robert Osborne, “my age and my phone number are both unlisted?”
You can change it!
Do a little math and you’re in the forties . . . not including the summers.
How about celebrating your 40th birthday for the 28th time?
You can be more cosmic. Claim that your birthday is fake news. On Jupiter, you’re about 6 years old. Prefer the red planet? On Mars, you’re in your thirties. On Saturn, you’re still a toddler.
I tried to explain this to my grandson, Nick. He laughed and demanded the real number. When I told him, he thought I was kidding. “You can’t be that old, Nana.”
Then there are the euphemisms. You’re not old, you’re mature. Or those infamous golden years that deliver aches, pains, and references to the “elderly.” You can even use “senior” – no one will confuse you with the high school type. If you want to be fashionable, you’re retro or vintage. The irony is that with age comes wisdom – the type of wisdom you wish you had in your twenties.
The wisdom that reflects a lifetime of experience.
Baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are defying the stereotypes. There are about 73 million of us. Which means we don’t have to follow the rules. Think of some celebrities that fall in the 73 million – Steven Spielberg, Billy Joel, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Madonna, and Oprah Winfrey. It’s quite a list. They go past the wrinkles and stories, euphemisms and numbers, refusing to be “old” in our golden years. As George Burns said,
You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.
Walt Disney agreed, saying “growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” That means you don’t have to stop listening to the Beatles or Neil Diamond. You can still have French fries and soda for lunch – just don’t tell anyone. And if your stomach can take it, feast on Nathan’s hot dogs, listen to Peter, Paul, and Mary, and sing I’m a Believer in the shower. Loud. Who cares if the grandkids think you’re nuts?
Take advantage of the perks.
Request a birthday card from President Biden if you’re 80 years or older (70 years for veterans). Move to Illinois and you can get free transit on fixed routes by the Chicago Transit Authority. Go to Pittsburgh and take a senior discounted Segway Tour. Head over to the largest commuter railroad in the nation, The Long Island Railroad in New York, and you can get a discount ticket labeled Sr/Ds-Md – Senior/Disabled & Medicare. No comment on the pairing.
For a mere $80 you can purchase a lifetime Senior Pass to over 2000 National Parks and Monuments. The hiking and rock climbing is free. The more cautious among us can get senior movie discounts, 10-15% off at Applebee’s, and 10-30% off at Comfort Suites (Choice Hotels) . . . and a whole lot more. Just ask.
Senior discounts are everywhere – from McDonald’s to Amtrak and Kohls. It’s the IN thing right now. So maybe it’s not so bad to have all those candles on your cake as long as you laugh, play, eat Big Macs, and sing in the shower. Make sure to take a selfie.