“I’m 65 today!” our neighbor Bill Wentwhistle announced proudly at Coffee World. “I’ve waited years for this moment. Now my real life begins. I can retire. I can qualify for all kinds of discounts. I’m a Senior!” He sat down in triumph to sip his large decaf with steamed skim milk.
After sincere birthday congratulations, my bicycling buddy, Eric, and I looked at each other and fell unusually silent. “What am I missing?” Eric asked me quietly, “When I turned 65 it wasn’t as if I had just discovered the serum or been released from prison.”
”It’s very simple, Eric,” I said. “You and I seem to be out of the mainstream. We don’t define ourselves by our age. You had a mandatory retirement age. I don’t want to retire. We’ve never had our faces or anything else lifted, although Lord knows we could probably use it. No one is going to talk us into taking rhumba lessons down at The Center in the middle of the afternoon.
We bought houses in Palm Heights (elevation 14’) because we wanted a neighborhood with adults and kids of all ages. We don’t have bucket lists. My golf game is embarrassing and looks like croquet. We’re still pretty darned good on our bicycles over longish distances. You can way outride me. We don’t struggle to keep busy.
We think Senior is a state of mind. This is not denial! The great thing is that we get to choose the moment. I hope we can think of ourselves as Seniors with Evan’s enthusiasm when we’re ready.”
This got us to wondering about how 65 became such an important number. Eric and I agreed to do a little independent research and ride our bikes back to Coffee World in two days with the results...