Why do we call people 60 and over seniors or senior citizens? I resent the term, along with every other term used to describe everyone I know 60 and older, and, well, me. We call kids in their last year of high school or college, seniors, which basically means they are graduating into society to take their rightful place as contributing members. As far as I can tell, the only option for seniors or senior citizens is graduating into eternity. I don’t know about you but I’m not in too big of a rush at the moment.
Elderly, geriatric, or old people doesn’t work for me either. Some have proposed the term older adult be used to describe those of us a bit longer in the tooth. I suspect those suggesting the term are somewhere between their 20s and 40s and not yet receiving weekly, sometimes daily invitations to join AARP. My husband, who is 11 years my junior and staring 50 in the face this year, snickers every time an AARP invite arrives. Just wait, I remind him. Soon, two invites with their special gifts and promises of senior discounts, chat rooms, and sage advice for navigating the mirky waters of the aging process will soon be showing up in our mailbox. Some may appreciate a reusable grocery tote with the AARP Member annoucement splashed across the outside in vibrant colors for all the world to see, but I’m not one of them.
So, what about the proposed term older American or older adult? Older than what? By what standard are we going to measure older? Older than Methsulselah? I might be in favor of that. Methuselah is said to be the oldest person who ever lived. According to the Bible, he lived 969 years, surpassing Adam by several years. If we use Methuselah as the measuring stick then anyone younger than, say, 500 or 600 years old would be considered a mere teen by comparison.
While I’m at it, why is it younger people insist upon calling women of a certain age, ma’am? Ma’am is for the women who wear polyester stretch pants and sensible shoes. I am wearing more sensible shoes of late, not because I’m old, but because I broke my ankle this summer and am still leary of trusting those adorable spike-heeled shoes. I’m sure that sounds like an excuse or a way of sidestepping my fear of falling again, but where would I wear spike-heeled shoes anyway? I work from home these days. For the record, I still rock a pair of bling-on-the-pocket blue jeans. Try this on for size: rockin-hot ager. I could live with that.
Until a suitable word is found to describe those of us who have lived long enough to accumulate a good bit of wisdom and exercise common sense, don’t refer to me as a senior citizen or call me ma’am. I’m a rockin-hot ager…..
Laughter is the best medicine