My parents are old.
Well, my dad is anyway. He is a senior, which is age 55 and older. He is four years into his senior-ity at the ripe old age of 59.
My mother, spring chicken that she is, is a tissue-tucked-into-the-arm-sleeve away at age 54. She too, though, will soon be a senior.
It doesn’t seem like my parents should be seniors. They are now the same age as my grandparents were when I was little. I feel like my perception is viewed through one of those carnival mirrors that make you shorter, taller and as nauseous as the Gravitron ride at the carnival after eating cotton candy.
Sure, my dad makes that out-of-the-chair sound, “ooouuughh,” and my mom hasn’t exactly won any recent marathons. But they are essentially up to the same active mom and dad-type stuff as they ever were. Are they really seniors?
Perhaps we could call them new-age fogeys. They’re the new face of the senior. I think most baby boomers would agree with the new-age senior phenomena, that today’s 55 year-old is younger than the 55 year-old of 20 or 30 years ago. Most seniors I know don’t feel the way they thought their age would feel. But I think that may be true with any age.
People are living longer and are healthier, though. Advances in healthcare, better living conditions and more health education has increased the average life expectancy.
But I don’t want to hear “I’m in as good of shape as I ever was” from seniors, because for the most part, 24 year-olds don’t make the “ooouuughh” sound every time they get out of a chair.
As much as some 50 and 60 year-old people are in denial about getting older, most 80- and 90-year-olds willingly tell everyone they meet, “I’m older than Moses.” They know life is too short to worry about what people think.
Of course, it’s easy for me to say this at 26 years-old. Wait until my hair falls out in all the wrong places. Wait until my hips ache for no reason at all. Wait until I can’t remember things like my wife’s name or where my dog is, even though I don’t have a dog.
Someday I’ll know the sour connotation of words like senior and fogey. Surely I’ll be sorry.
And I know there are some seniors in much better shape than I am. But that’s not the point. There are apple pies in better shape than me.
When I imagine being retired, I see myself and my wife riding our motorcycles cross country, touring the world and flying by the seat of our pants. We will go from town to town, staying where we want and enjoying life. That’s my plan. Realistically though, at best, we’ll go on a few bicycle rides.
We’ll likely only make it down the block and have to turn back. My wife, what’s her name, and I will have to get back home to feed the dog — if we could just find him.