Saturday, March 19, 2011

The World According to AARP

I got my AARP card today. I think they have been sending me information since I was about twelve, but I have always felt I was too young to join – until now.  Gary and I were at I-HOP last month when it dawned on me that I had ordered my “Rise and Shine” off the senior menu. I also recalled (with difficulty) that I had recently asked the plumber for a senior citizen discount when he cleaned the prune pits out of my kitchen drain and he never questioned it. So when the latest AARP invitation arrived, I cringed. I cried. I sent in my dues.

Now,being a card carrying AARP member does have its rewards. If you log onto their website, you find all sorts of helpful tips for folks over fifty. One I was pretty excited about was a technique to make dark patchy “age” spots disappear.  I had recently noticed some of those spots near my left eye, which seemed like an odd place for them, but there they were. The article was very informative but imagine my surprise when I sat down at my magnifying mirror to deal with the spots only to find they were nearly gone! 'A miracle,' I thought – until the next day when I burned my temple with the curling iron and behold! The spots are back.

Life after fifty requires stamina. You must be willing and able to accept change. One of my biggest hurdles was accepting that I can no longer eat the way I did in my twenties, thirties and forties. Where I once thought nothing of devouring a juicy rib-eye steak along with a loaded baked potato, vegetable and two buttery croissants, I now have to select a four-ounce cut of lean fowl and small salad which has had a slice of lemon swept over it for zest. Bread is an enemy to older folks, to say nothing about alcohol! I really miss having a glass of wine with dinner, but the good news is that I can still achieve the same effect by standing up fast. (Hold onto a chair when you do this.)

Another painful reality for AARP-ers is forgetfulness. I spend an inordinate amount of time looking for my glasses or standing in a doorway trying to recall why I am in this room. My arrival home from work is my dog Winnie’s signal that it is time for her supper. I will pick up her dishes, fill one with fresh water and put the other on the counter for her food. Then I notice the mail and see one of those credit card offers nobody ever wants, which I take to the office to shred. There are new emails on the computer, so I sit down to read them. After viewing all the jokes and chain letters, I notice the bookcase needs dusting. So I go into the kitchen for the duster only to see poor Winnie in the middle of the floor waiting patiently for me to fill her food dish. This is not a joke, it happens more often than I care to admit. Fortunately, Winnie is a patient dog.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the aging process worked in reverse - if every birthday harbingered more energy and joie de vivre? I can just imagine large numbers of centenarians zipping around in sports cars and jogging up and down the grocery aisles with boundless energy and the wisdom to select only healthy foods. But alas, it is not to be. The good news is that in my dreams I am always young and I am eternally grateful that wrinkles do not hurt.