I have entered the school of retirement.
Do you remember when you looked forward to being a Senior. All those years in Junior High and High School the goal, the dream, was to be a Senior. There was even a name given when you actually achieved the goal and entered the end months…Senioritis. A glorious condition of euphoria, of looking forward to an end and a beginning.
It was repeated once again for those entering the collegiate years. The goal…being a Senior. Your parents’ goal was for you to be a 4th year Senior…not a 5th year Senior.
If you look up Senior in the dictionary, the first definition listed is “a polite designation for an elderly person in the US and the UK. There are two additional definitions, the next, a student in their final year of high school or university and the last, a higher or the highest standing or rank.
To further examine the term I have found an amazing disparity in what determines a Senior Citizen. The Wall Street Journal reported that 50 is the new 65 as far as earning Senior discounts. That seems a little backwards to me, but whatever works. However it seems that the official age one becomes a Senior citizen is 65.
US News reports that becoming a Senior citizen depends on who you talk to. 50 year olds will tell you 65 and 65 year olds will tell you they are still young, active and vibrant and do not consider themselves Senior citizens. I am 68. I can still remember the day that I was automatically given a Senior discount at a retail location. I was not complimented. In fact I was silently indignant. It wasn’t long after that occurrance that people were opening doors for me and asking if I needed assistance. Now granted I have never colored my hair, but why the sudden change in public perception? My appearance didn’t change overnight, or did it? I will admit that occasionally I catch a glimpse of myself in a window or mirror and don’t necessarily recognize the person in the reflection. It’s odd that we continue to fell so young inside as our outward appearance changes.
This is what I have decided regarding the entry into the next phase of my life. I am a freshman in the school of retirement. I am at the beginning, learning the ropes, making connections, finding my way. I am a first year student, a novice, a newcomer. I am low man on the totem pole of discovery and education. I am in the beginning phase of becoming educated in the art of being a retiree…a senior citizen.
There. I have defined myself, or at least the stage that I find myself in. I think for the time being it will be much easier for me to consider myself a freshman in this new phase of my life. It gives me time to grow, learn, and be schooled. I don’t mind progressing slowly. I am in no rush, after all I can look forward to my Sophomore phase. It may take years for me to become “A Senior.”
I am officially a Freshman in the School of Retirement.