It seems like my entire life has been spent wishing I was older. When I was a little kid, I wanted to be older than my brothers so I didnâ€™t get picked on. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be older so I didnâ€™t have to be in school.
When I was 16 and could finally drive a car, I wanted to be 18 and be able to vote; and when I was 18 and looking forward to college, I wanted to be 25, out of college and on my own.
I imagine there may be a time in my life when I wish I was younger, but that time hasnâ€™t quite come yet.
And so, when an envelope appeared in my mail last week from AARP, I faced a bit of a conundrum. On one hand I should have been offended to receive such an invitation at the age of 39; and on the other, I was disappointed that I didnâ€™t qualify for the cool free travel bag they were offering to new recruits.
I hope that offer still stands in another 10 years or so â€” owning an AARP card paves the way for some rather decent senior discounts.
My invitation to AARP came at a time last week when Iâ€™d heard one too many people complain about age. The final straw came in the newsroom, when one writer in a conversation with another writer said something like, â€œWell, she isnâ€™t ancient â€” it isnâ€™t like sheâ€™s 40.â€
Just to be clear here, the discussion was not about me. It was just an innocent statement to be sure, but as the soon-to-be-40-year-old in the newsroom, I literally squirmed in my seat. Forty and ancient should not be muttered in the same sentence â€” thatâ€™s just wrong.
Itâ€™s funny how the concept of age changes as one gets older. I imagine at one time I may have said 40 was old, but as I creep ever toward the four decade mark, I think my concept of â€œoldâ€ has shifted. Actually, Iâ€™m thinking I donâ€™t even like the word â€œoldâ€ any more. How about if we just go around calling everyone over the age of 90 an antique. That sounds a little kinder, donâ€™t you think?
Anyway, my 16-year-old niece stopped by to sell me a magazine the other night and I told her about my AARP letter (also included were two hard plastic AARP cards with my name stamped in them). Had she been slurping a soda at the time, Iâ€™m pretty sure it would have ended up on my desk the way she chortled.
The AARP subject came up as I perused the magazine selections.
â€œIs â€˜Travel + Leisureâ€™ an old personâ€™s magazine?â€ I asked. (Er, I mean an antique personâ€™s magazine!) â€œI donâ€™t want to be considered old, but yet I want to read about travel.â€
I got the typical teenage shrug and the impatient just-buy-a-magazine look. After half an hour, I had it narrowed down to two: the travel publication and â€œThis Old House.â€
One will make me want to take a never-ending vacation, and the other will make me want to tear my house apart in a remodel.
Hmm, yeah, I went with the travel magazine. Once a month for the next two years I will get to read about the travel adventures of others, but at least I wonâ€™t be feeling old. Instead, Iâ€™ll be wishing I was older â€” retired with money to travel.