My AARP Card

I have been waiting with great anticipation, for it to come in the mail, just like my ten-year-old waits for her Disney magazine. It has not come yet, but I know that I will feel validated and special when it arrives. I am waiting for my AARP card and the day in a few weeks that I turn 50 years old or young I would rather say.

I have been telling people that I am already 50, insinuating in conversations. I am like the child that says she is 6 ¾ wanting to be older and reach that next level. In September, I went to a birthday party for a friend’s husband. He turned 50 and felt awful about it. She threw him the surprise party to cheer him up. I do not understand his attitude at all. I can’t wait to be 50! I feel that it is like a marker in time, that the next 50 years are going to be so much more interesting, so much more full, so much possibility. Don’t get me wrong; the first 50 have been pretty amazing. But as we know, we supposedly gain some sort of wisdom as we age, and that wisdom is what is making the next 50 so enticing. It is true, that somewhere around 50, plus or minus a few years we start to see retirement as something within proximity, as opposed to something so far away. And although I am not sure that I will ever really retire, I was one of the lucky ones that got to change my lifestyle to my own design when I was in my mid-forties. This or some derivative is what I will do until I cannot do it any longer. What will change is my lifestyle once my parenting and eldercare duties are fulfilled. And I am starting now to plan how that will be different. But until that time, I am going to relish being fifty. One of the reasons that this is such a big milestone is that my father died when he was three months past his 50th birthday. It is hard to believe that I am now the same age as he was when his life ended. And the last conversation I had with him plays constantly in my brain. He had not done everything that he wanted to do in his short life. That inspires me to plan, to dream and to keep going. Because every day that comes three months after my 50th birthday is a gift, and one that I plan to use with wisdom and zeal.

Joanne Waldman, M.Ed., PCC, LPC, NCC, NCGC, Master Career Counselor

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