I hit the half century mark of birthdays in a few months. I’m not really one to get all that worked up about birthdays (or even anniversaries). It’s just another day, as far as I’m concerned.
But sometime after my 49th birthday last summer, I started getting occasional letters and e-mails from the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons). The fact that they are tracking the ages of (presumably) every living person in this country is a little disconcerting to me. But beyond that, I resent the membership solicitations at this stage of my life.
FIFTY! As my brother pointed out to me two years ago, when I claimed a “middle aged moment”, the actuarial tables suggest that I’m past the midpoint—probably well past it. But 50 is really kind of the old 35, isn’t it? At least in our house, where a 13 year old and an 8 year old reside, I like to think of it that way.
I remember when my grandparents were 50—I thought they were OLD (they lived another 30+ years, and my grandfather didn’t retire until weeks before his death). Of course my grandparents, at the age of 50, had 5 grandkids already, so maybe that contributed to my notion that they were old, since I was the 10 year old grandchild.
Worrying about how “old” I’m getting, or how much time has passed me by, or how little time (relatively speaking) I have left, just isn’t my way of doing things. I guess maybe it’s the realist in me. I’ve seen people live to be 95 in both exceptional and awful health; and I’ve seen people die much younger than I am now—of both accident and disease. None of us really knows how long we’ve got, so while I look forward to the future with a hope that I’ll see it (and with a sense of anticipation for an afterlife), I guess at some level I try to live by the notion of carpe diem. But I digress….
My real point here is about AARP, and their insidious efforts to lump people like me into an interest group made up of self-interested grandparents who are eager not only to save money (AARP does have some good discount deals) but also to grab as much “goodies” away from the government (i.e. their children and grandchildren) as possible—all in the name of respecting the “contributions of our elders.”
I get that this is the way these things work. Thousands of “interest groups” are out there, trying to get what they can from the government trough. I even belong to some of those groups, I guess—but the groups I belong to tend to just want government to leave us alone and quit taking away our rights, not demanding more of them, or expecting to get government goodies.
So, when (if ever), I get to the point where I really feel like I want to “retire”, AARP can be sure it won’t have a friend in me…