Three months past my 65th birthday and the start of Social Security, and I’m midriff-deep in social insecurity. It’s my own fault.
First, I planned the whole 65th birthday “celebration” all wrong. Instead of accepting Handsome Hubby’s offer of a birthday party, I decided to low-key the whole thing. So, I carried on as if it were a “normal” day. I scheduled appointments with the chiropractor and physical therapist. Turning 65 may be a pain, but at least my back wasn’t going to be!
And about Social Security … Well, it’s one of those rites of passage, like getting your learner’s permit, driver’s license, registering to vote, and getting a drink at a bar when you turn 21. BUT it’s way less cool.
The process of applying was surprisingly easy. The questions weren’t tough, but it left me with a question I’d like to share with you, my fellow middle-aged muddlers: at what age do we age out of being middle-aged? When are we “old?” And no, you cannot reply that “old” is a state of mind. There must be some specific actual numerical age when we officially qualify as “old.”
No Social Insecurity Here
My oldest brother, who was 21 years older than me, died just a few weeks short of his 80th birthday. He was a brilliant still-working attorney, respected and feared by those in his field. He had significant health problems, but he wasn’t old.
My father, who had truly horrific health problems, died at 72, but he was still youthful, and as the cliché goes, full of “spit and vinegar.” He wasn’t old either.
Famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright produced one-third of his output after the age of 80 and before his death at 92. Also, Wright worked until five days before he died.
Handsome Hubby and I both still work, and like my father and brother, we plan on doing so till we drop. After all, ladies, nowadays, we work right up until we go into labor. Why should we slow down till the Grim Reaper knocks?
Ignore the Mirror AND the Kids!
My children, of course, have considered me old for decades. So, let’s just ignore their opinion.
As for me, I have a mirror. I’m not blind. I know I’m not as cute as I once was. I know I’m thicker around the waist (hips, thighs) and that cute guys (of any age) don’t cast a second glance in my direction, even on my best dressed, coiffed, and made-up days. And I admit this invisibility makes me sad. But still, I don’t think this defines me as old, just older.
I also know I move slower and ache more – especially my feet, oh, my feet. But for all those assorted laments, I don’t think I’m old.
Still, what do YOU think? How old is “old?”
One clever friend offered this simple definition. She said it is anyone 15 years older than us. I like it!
I’ve told the story before, but it is such a good one and bears repeating. I had a wonderful second cousin, Martin. He was a Holocaust survivor who lost his wife and two small children but then built a rich and beautiful life in America.
Martin lived to be 93. Once I asked how he was feeling, “It’s like I told my doctor the other day,” he answered. “If it weren’t for my legs, I’d feel like I was 80.”
If you need further proof about Marvin’s spirit and spunk – in his room at the assisted living facility was an exercise bike. He “rode” that contraption as often as he could to keep those pesky, painful legs moving.
Because I’m in a sentimental mood, here’s my other favorite Marvin story: My cousin was a baker. One day I asked for his recipe for eclairs, my favorite dessert. “Well, can you divide by 12?”
“Why,” I asked.
“Because I only bake in batches of 12 dozen.”
My Birthday’s Grand Finale
And in case you’re wondering how I spent the rest of my birthday (after the chiropractor and the physical therapist) … Handsome Hubby and I took off for an adventure at a nearby national park. The highlight? The young dewy-skinned ranger asked if we wanted a senior pass, then peered into the car and said, “Oh, sorry, you’re both too young. Apologies.”
“Honey,” I said, “You need to get your eyes checked. Give us the discount!”
Social insecurity be damned. If I am going to get old, I sure want to get senior discounts!