It seems fortuitous that I chose Tuesdays as the day of the week I would publish new posts here at Antonia’s Senior Moments. Both Christmas and New Years fell on Tuesdays and today, a couple of weeks into the New Year, I’m writing my Tuesday post on my 65th birthday.
I share my birthday with a wonderful and truly inspirational man, Martin Luther King. He would have been 84 today. I feel honored to share this day with King, who opened the door and brought the fresh air of “all people created equal” into our current society. Sure, the ideology hasn’t stuck for everyone, but some people don’t have the education to be that open and accepting, let alone the experience to know what it feels like to be discriminated against. So, here’s to a noble countryman who gave of his ideology and his life so the lives of black people everywhere could be better. In my opinion, us white folks are better for it too!
So, its official: I’m a legitimate, card-carrying Medicare recipient and I’m entitled to social security, which I’ve been receiving since I was 62 (a story for another day). When I turned 55, many establishments (movie theaters, some restaurants and retail stores), would give me a senior discount. I had to chuckle though at those places where the 20-year-old clerks were requiredto ask if I wanted the senior rate or not. At first I felt super old. They must be asking because I looked old. That wasn’t the case, however, when I pressed the issue. It was similar to being carded; if you even remotely looked like you could be 55, the clerks were required to ask. They always asked with down-cast eyes.
I’m thrilled to be 65; no, seriously I am.
You see – not to be gruesome – I always thought I’d only live to be 64. So bring it on! I’ve shifted my mindset to living until I’m 81. Now I’m playing with the casino’s money, so to speak. And I feel like a 40 year old.
When I was younger, I’d scoff at ‘old’ people in their 60’s who’d go about saying, “Yup, I feel just like I did when I was 37. My body is slowing a bit but my mind is just as agile as when I didn’t know better.” Now that I’m here, however, I know exactly what they meant. I can’t necessarily dance gangnam style but I can do some long division in my head and play and win speed games for the mind.
Do I ever wish I could push it back, return say to being late 20’s? Sure, especially when I can’t figure out how to program my phone or hook up the Wii; kids do that stuff in their sleep these days. I also wish I could have eaten better earlier in my life. Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food supply weren’t around in our parents’ generation but they’ve been with us for nearly my entire life, and they’re killing us. And I wouldn’t have ever smoked. But this is hindsight, perfect information, so I have to let it go and do the best I can now.
I believe it’s important to look to the future, to have fun and to do rewarding things as we age. You will see, if you haven’t already from reading these posts, I’ve got lots of things and people that bring me a satisfying life. I may complain from time to time about the aging process, but I’ll remember not to worry about checking out until I’m 81 or older. Then I’ll once again shift my mindset to a later date. And, in the meantime, hang onto your dentures. It’s going to be a wild ride.
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