As I pass into the years of my life where I am officially considered to be a "Senior Citizen" I have often wondered how I arrived here. When I was young I was never considered to be an Infant Citizen and as a young adult never an Apprentice Citizen. I can't even remember my hallowed years as a middle aged Junior Citizen. Yet I have now attained the exalted rank of Senior apparently without passing through any of the lower ranks.
Being a Senior Citizen of course comes with the requisite perks of high status:
1. I get Fifty cents off at the local buffet if I eat between one and four pm.
2. I get a massive savings of one dollar when I purchase a movie ticket. However once again in my life I am required to produce identification before I get this perk as I am cursed to have less then the required number of wrinkles for automatic "Coothood".
3. I get to be called sir by those younger than me except for the large contingent of people who prefer the endearing term "Old Fart".
4. I get to drive in the left hand fast lane on the interstate at 55 miles per hour while leaving my left turn blinker on continuously to intimidate those behind me who think I might actually be considering a sharp left hand turn into the retaining wall at any second.
5. I am expected to complain about my aches and pains to total strangers and attribute them to either the weather or a chronic condition which will ultimately be the death of me and to choose between these at my whim.
6. I get to be gazed at by teens and those in their 20's as though I am, in surfing terms, "hanging 10 over a 6 foot ditch". This is especially comforting at funerals when they look at me as though I am next.
7. I get to collect my Security Security check while those younger than me constantly tell me how generous they are to support me in my waning years. I am also encouraged by looks and thoughts and even stated opinion to try very hard not to live beyond my biblical 3 score and 10 and to please "shuffle off this mortal coil" before social security is exhausted.
8. I get the privilege of being looked upon as a senile dotard rather than, as in times of yore, a wise sage with a lifetime of experience and wisdom to offer. The majority of the young nowadays are certain that they know more than me even when I ask them if they know more at 25 than they did at 10 and then ask if they believe that I would know more at 62 than I did at 25. Apparently at some time in my youth I passed a magic age where you cease learning anything of value and I wasn't even aware of it.
9. If I should, heaven forbid, forget something for a moment, people stare at me sadly and whisper to each other something about Alzheimer's , forgetting that age does not necessarily equate to deafness. When I forgot something when I was young it was just a nominal occurrence probably due a hangover...now it is classified as early senility. Age does not always mean that forgetting something for a moment indicates diminished intellectual capacity. I just have more to recall now than I did as a youngster, and like a computer searching through billions of pieces of data, it sometimes takes time for the right piece to be located.
10 Lastly I am expected to be androgynous, no longer thinking of the opposite sex, romance or anything even resembling a "fling". When I gleefully follow the progress of a sweet young thing in her 50's up the stairs, the younger folks are mortified and mutter things that resemble pervert and dirty old man. To further horrify my younger audience, my great grandfather of 93 years often stayed overnight at a 60 year old widow's home when I was a boy. He is my hero.:)
I am not an old curmudgeon who looks down on those who are younger, I revel in their youth and spirit and intelligence. Their drive and vitality and ambition keep me in awe. I love to be around them to soak up their enthusiasm and zest for life. I am just not ready to hang up my hat yet as I too still have a great deal to offer. To quote an old joke,"I have the mind of a 20 year old. Sadly he wants it back next week". :)
In spite of all of these "perks" listed tongue in cheek above, I am thankful, happy, ecstatic, buoyant and ebullient to be a Senior Citizen and look forward to the next 3 decades with great anticipation. After all considering the alternative to getting older, who wouldn't be happy. :)