I’m nearing that arbitrary age when the federal government has determined I am approaching senior citizenhood, and thus entitled to benefits from the slowly and surely sinking social security administration. I should be flattered, or eager to anticipate a great new adventure, akin to getting my driver’s license or the right to vote. But turning 62 feels more like having to register for the draft or being eligible to join AARP.
I know I should appreciate that I’ve made it this far. When I was born, back in the hopeful, halcyon days following World War II, my life expectancy was 65. Now I can anticipate living to 80, which is the life expectancy of my young granddaughters. That should cheer me up!
And the fact is, I’m not alone. Recently it was duly reported on the wire services that an average of 10,000 baby-boomers are coming of age, and thus eligible for social security benefits, on a daily basis. Repeat: daily. (At least we can register on line, not just by mail or in person.) There’s a lot of us out there, and the stream will continue at that annual rate of 3,650,000 per year, for the next 20 years. That gives you pause.
Something else to cogitate is that I’m still too young to qualify for the Steamship Authority senior citizen discount. And I must pay full fare at movies on Island. But what a thrill it was last year to get my dump sticker for free! And if I venture off to Denny’s, over in America, I can dine at seniors’ prices. There are a few benefits.
I’m starting to feel my age. I donned glasses some 15 years ago and recently acquired hearing aids. My joints creak and I tire more easily these days. Exercise, especially in these chilly, snowy months, is less an option, though I did manage to go skating this winter. My pants seem to have shrunk in the waist. Of course it doesn’t help that the chips and chocolates beckon from the pantry cupboard.
In honor of my birthday I dropped by the registry to renew my license. (They don’t send out reminders anymore!) Apparently I’m good for a few more years behind the wheel.
But who’s complaining? “Each day goes so fast, I turn around, it’s past,” sang the late, great George Harrison in Love You To, more than 40 years ago. “A lifetime is so short. A new one can’t be bought,” he added. And time seems to have sped up, or at least our perception of time feels that way. Each event in my life is miniscule in duration when compared to my baby granddaughters: a day in my life is a blur, while for them, it’s a major event.
So this next birthday is just another rung on the age-old ladder we’re all climbing. I appreciate each new day and want to continue with that cohort of lifelong learners who make the most of the time we have left, relishing the moment, cherishing our past, anticipating the future.
And with that, I’d like to wish myself, my wife, and all baby-boomers, a very happy birthday!