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Aging does have its rewards

There are two watershed moments in a woman's life: when they stop carding you at bars and when the envelope arrives from AARP.

The in-between vanishes in a blur until one afternoon you are paying bills, going, "Huh?"

Your gut says pitch the membership card, but then you think, "Discounts." Vanity does fierce battle with frugality. You stash the offending mailer with the insurance invoices and the religious bulletins and the Valpak coupons.

Weeks later you remember the card at, say, Denny's, where you can't help but notice the senior breakfasts are not all that senior-appropriate. And you think: Hmm. What a kick it is to hear a waiter or a movie ticket seller ask, "Senior? You can't possibly be a senior!" A second go-round of those bar carding years.

No one thought you would age gracefully. The best that could be said is you would be moderately responsible in your adult years.

A person of true mental health would not now be consumed with panic in a wide-awake nightmare screaming, "Hey, wait for me!" with every human interaction, teeth falling out and nobody can hear because they're all wearing earbuds. Like at my house when I yell "dinner's ready," which is yet another reason never to cook.

No, this healthy person would be thankful to be walking, talking and still chewing meat.

Still able to jog 2 miles. Still getting the jokes on TMZ. The stylist at Supercuts still asking, "Is this your natural color?" even if she discreetly rolled her eyes. Thankful that size 4 just keeps getting bigger.

This person would rejoice in having a better-than-average marriage and two high-functioning and occasionally cooperative children, a full set of parents with most of their faculties and, until recently, a grandparent.

Sure, your goals become less attainable with each passing year. Yes, full honesty, when you aren't ready you catch a full-on view in the mirror of something that's gotta belong to somebody else. You can't remember if you locked the door. But you've been like that since grad school. And you've got oh so many stories to tell, when you can remember who you told them to.

You could be Madonna and your kids would still think you were a dork. You are yourself, confident and self-affirming as you rack your brain to remember where you stashed that AARP card. Even though, if you find it, you'll feel guilty for using it.

Unless they meant it for a 40-year-old.

Aging does have its rewards 07/10/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 11, 2008 8:58pm]
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