Friday, June 20, 2014

Rethinking "Senior"

While on my way to the gym for a morning workout, I drove past a neighborhood of bungalows nestled around an inviting pond. Nailed to the side of one of the buildings was a huge sign: "Senior Living Community 50+." Reality slammed me. That magical number of 50 is only a few years off. But I'm too young to be categorized as a "Senior!"

I was actually offended. Why 50? 50 is not old. The US life expectancy here in Minnesota ranks second in the US behind Hawaii at 80.5 years. I will agree that 80 does classify as getting up there. But to label people in their 50s as "Seniors" is just wrong!

Most people I know in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and even 80s are certainly not the stereotypical "senior." They are not feeble or destined to spend their days reclined in a Lazy-Boy watching infomercials and the Weather Channel. The Seniors in my life are incredibly active and most are not retired. If they are retired, they are volunteering like crazy or traveling the world.

As for qualifying for "Senior" living at age 50, I have to wonder, do they take teens? Most people in their 50s probably have at least one teenager still at home. Would teens fall into the category of dogs over 50 pounds and just are not allowed?

I can wait until I'm 80.5 for my senior meal deal at Perkins thank you. Until then I will continue to recycle my Prevention magazine and send back the ashes of my torched AARP card all while remaining as active as possible for as long as possible. Old age is a state of mind, not a number.

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