Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New shoes without a senior discount

I've had four days now to be 65, and the more I think about it the less I like the way I've let time and custom turn the page for me.

I never asked to be an "honored citizen." And as nice as "senior discounts" are, I feel they are discounting me.

My stepdaughter's birthday note crystallized it for me: "It's not the years in your life but the life in your years."

She meant well, but her message was half right. It is the life in my years AND the years in my life. For at least the last two decades, each year has been better than the one before because there have been so many. These years have delivered compound interest.

One of the things I like about my age is feeling free to speak my mind. Maybe it's because nobody can fire me. Well, they could, but being fired wouldn't much matter—I teach and write pretty much for pocket change.

Believe me, I have other things to do. I have to-do lists of to-do lists....

Why has it taken so long to speak with such conviction? I think others—particularly the young—are coaxing it from me. It certainly has nothing to do with being "honored." It's as though I am listened to as someone who—right or wrong—is old enough, and, yes, wise enough, to put pieces together.

If not now, when?

Anyway, I should have seen this "honored citizen" thing as a sham sooner. It's that old adage about walking in another's shoes. Foolishly, I hadn't. Then, four days ago, I let my own old shoes become a "senior citizen's." They didn't fit.

Since then, I have bought a new pair.

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