I turned 65 this week. Paul McCartney didn’t write a song about that. Maybe even the eternally youthful ex-Beatle couldn’t face the DOF age..that’s Designated Old Fart, so he undershot it by one.
I made sure I didn’t tell anyone at my part-time “semi-retirement” job about my birthday because then someone would bring in cupcakes. Don’t get me wrong. I love cupcakes, but it seems when someone at work brings in cupcakes they insist on bypassing tried and true flavors like vanilla or chocolate frosting in favor of peanut butter or cream cheese or some other flavor I can’t stand. The worst thing you can hear is the person bringing in the pastries announcing, “I baked them myself!” Who knows if their gooey-fingered child or well-meaning but sloppy Boston terrier used their tongues to sample the frosting directly from the bowl.
So-called “landmark” ages never really affected me. When I became 21 it was no big deal since I grew up in New York State where both the drinking and voting ages were 18. When I turned 30 I was producing at CNN Headline News and celebrated with my team in between the 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. shows, thanks to a cake baked by one of their wives. I knew in advance they had neither children nor pets so I ate the cake with no trepidation.
When I turned 40 I was the CNN Detroit Bureau chief and my team was kind enough to festoon the bureau with “Over the Hill” banners. My nice family was much cooler, providing a low-key, but warm celebration consisting of cake, ice cream and Jack Daniels.
I have no recollection of turning 50 except receiving mail from the AARP letting me know I was now old enough to join the alta-cocker lobbying group and 60 was a haze. I can’t be turning 60! That’s an age your parents…or grandparents reached!
My wife and I are lucky we look young for our ages. We appreciate it now. When I was 36 the president of CNN took me off the air because he said I looked TOO young. A year later I was back on but the only thing that really changed in my appearance was a pissed off scowl that apparently gave me some sort of gravitas worthy of being on camera for a 10 second standup.
One good thing about aging is being able to take advantage of all those senior citizen discounts. When I first became eligible for many of them when I turned 55 I dug in my heels refusing to admit being a “senior” citizen. Now I say “screw it.” Nothing wrong with saving a few bucks here and there and having cashiers exclaim, “you look way too young for a senior discount,” even after showing my ID. When they persist, I offer to whip out images of my latest colonoscopy but I’ve had no takers…just reduced admissions to movies and the home show quickly granted in order to get the crazy old man to move along.
The old saw is getting older is better than the alternative but no one has ever accurately reported on why. Who knows, maybe the afterlife offers senior citizen discounts on Boost?
With nothing credible to go on, I’ll opt to go on. I’m looking forward to 70 because after all, isn’t that the new 50. Having already been 50 I know it’s the new 40. I’m feeling younger already!