This summer I’ll turn 50.
There. I said it.
The truth is, I haven’t given it much thought because I don’t feel 50. Sure, there are some days I roll out of bed, walk to the bathroom and realize the creaking and popping sounds I hear aren’t coming from the floorboards. And yes, I’ve noticed when I’m cleaning out my razor it looks like someone used it to shave our neighbor’s grey Schnauzer. But most days I throw on a rocker T-shirt or slim-fit dress shirt, leave it untucked over my jeans, lace up my superhero Vans or hiking boots and am on my way.
Then I rush back in for a second trip to the rest room.
But still… I’m technically on my way.
However, over the last several months I’ve started getting reminders from society’s collective data bank that I am getting older. The first came in my email back in January, when I got one of those Singles Looking for Love In Your Area! messages. I’ve received many of these over the years, and they always include the image of an attractive 30-something woman in a sun dress laughing with an equally attractive 30-something man as they sip wine on a beach at sunset.
This time, the word “singles” has been replaced with “seniors,” and the two 30-somethings apparently found a hotel room, leaving behind a white-haired couple sipping on fruit smoothies and playing Canasta. Soon after that, I received a free trial subscription to AARP magazine. I have to say, there’s nothing like having an entire magazine full of people living it up on cruises, attending broadway musicals and playing tennis to remind you that you’re still another 15 years away from retirement. I’ve also been receiving a lot more pharmaceutical spam. Mostly for reducing blood pressure.
And for increasing my, uh…
But it wasn’t until yesterday, when I opened our mail box top find a letter addressed to “Mr. Ned Hickson” from Neptune Cremation Service, that I felt the buzzards beginning to circle. Death was not only coming for me — he knew my address! I opened it and was a bit relieved it wasn’t a coupon with an expiration date. At the same time, I was a little unnerved by a statement in the opening paragraph that read:
“More and more people are being cremated — and the numbers are increasing every year!”
The numbers of what, dead people? Was this a veiled threat?
To top it off, there was a chance to win a pre-paid cremation by filling out a brief form and sending it in. That wasn’t the part that bothered me. It was this image at the top of the form that was more than a little unnerving…
All of this made me come to the realization that, yes, I am getting older. At least on paper. However, the fact that society’s collective data bank isn’t aware that I’m ridiculously happily married, am in reasonably good health and am more than a decade away from qualifying for Social Security just shows they don’t know everything.
In fact, the only thing they got right was that I’ve started taking a low-dose blood pressure medicine. And no, there are no little blue pills in my medicine cabinet. At least not yet.
Knock on, well… wood.
Given the fact that I come from a long line of longevity and late bloomers, I think I’ll keep the cremation plans on the back burner for now (although that pun might kill someone) and think of approaching 50 as the second act of my life as opposed to the final act.
Besides, I still need to find out who keeps using my razor on that Schnauzer…