Rights of Aging: Claiming Old

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One day during our trip to Florence, I took a walk along the Arno River, near the Ponto Vecchio. The raised sidewalk is narrow. If you pass another person, someone needs to step off. A polite, agreeable sort, I’m often the first person to acquiesce in situations like this.

A young man approached me. I got ready to step down.

Wait a minute, I thought, I’m his elder by decades.  Shouldn’t he step down and let me pass?

I kept steady on the path, and the young man did step down.

But this was one of the first times I’ve claimed age. It’s been my goal (and still is) to remain youthful, to grab all the gusto I can, and to not let my creeping years influence my attitude or my behavior.

When I featured the poetry collection, How Did This Happen: Poems for the Not So Young Anymore , reader Gail commented: “I wonder all the time, ‘How did I get to be this old?’ I recently let my hair go natural, and it is totally white. My sister told me that people would begin treating me differently, and she was right. Now people let me go first, hold the door for me, etc. Sweet, but also can make me feel way old!”

I remember feeling shocked the first time my parents took a senior discount at a restaurant. How dare they get old? But Mom didn’t look sad. She seemed pleased to be saving four dollars.

So I can see it’s a balance, between claiming old and keeping youth.

And if I’m ever lucky enough to walk by the Ponte Vechhio, Old Bridge, again, I may just step off the sidewalk and let the young man stay on.

And I got to say, saving some dollars through senior discounts now makes me happy just like it did my mom.

What about you? Do you claim age?

Speaking of senior discounts, Coupon Chef sent me this link to this Retail Savings Guide for Baby Boomers.  Check it out!

4 responses »

  1. It is the silver lining in the old process. I am disappointed when the age is 65 for a discount. My husband who’s hair is gray and white is given it without asking.My sister who stopped coloring her hair and it is gorgeous white, not only will be offered a seat on the subway but help with her bag on planes or trains!

  2. I’m always surprised when someone offers me his/her seat on the NYC subway. Usually I say I’m fine. Recently a cashier at a small grocery store near my parents sheepishly asked me if I “qualified.” I didn’t know what he meant- he had to ask another employee to explain that Tuesday, people 60 and older get 10% off. Yes! I qualified! Happy to take the discounts offered.

  3. I think we should coin a new definition of our aging selves–Youthfully old! That would apply to you, Barbara. And to all of us who try to maintain a youthful attitude and way of living but realize we are aging and may have some new limitations especially physically.

  4. Okay, saw this post and thought of my newly gained rights to have an “early bird’s special” at a very “special” price because I’m a “Senior, at a place I used to work at as a very young person.

    Whew! Yes, fleeting moment of righteousness, because yes I get $1.60 off because I’m a “senior.” But, what did I gain? A meal that is smaller than others, and a feeling of being “smaller.”

    No, I don’t think these particular so-called privileges are worth it, in this sense.

    Now, if they would only discount the Eagles concert ticket that I would like to purchase!!

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