Sign me up AARP … in another decade

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 didn’t get picked on. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be older so I didn’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 hasn’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 didn’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 — owning an AARP card paves the way for some rather decent senior discounts.

My invitation to AARP came at a time last week when I’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, “Well, she isn’t ancient — it isn’t like she’s 40.”

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 — that’s just wrong.

It’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 “old” has shifted. Actually, I’m thinking I don’t even like the word “old” any more. How about if we just go around calling everyone over the age of 90 an antique. That sounds a little kinder, don’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, I’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.

“Is ‘Travel + Leisure’ an old person’s magazine?” I asked. (Er, I mean an antique person’s magazine!) “I don’t want to be considered old, but yet I want to read about travel.”

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 “This Old House.”

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 won’t be feeling old. Instead, I’ll be wishing I was older — retired with money to travel.

2 thoughts on “Sign me up AARP … in another decade

  1. Don’t feel too bad. One of my co-workers received a letter and membership card from AARP, and she’s 27. I think the AARP folks who work in membership services must be at least 80 years old…and senile. :)

  2. Exactly, i just received a letter in the mail the other day myself, just turned 29 yesterday :) (i think AARP should look more into their mailing list before they start mailing invites out lol)
    I too had the “ugh, i wish i WAS old enough to be a member” thought!!

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