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Vogt's Notes: It may be 2020, but my mind is stuck on 55

Nancy Vogt - Vogt's Notes.jpg
Nancy Vogt, PineandLakes Echo Journal Editor

It dawned on me quite suddenly when I was editing a routine news brief about a senior driving course for people age 55 and older.

On Jan. 1, 2020, when revelers would be welcoming the new year and a new decade, I would be turning age 55. I would qualify for that senior driving discount course.

I would be "old."

I’ve always felt “young” because my husband is about three years older than me. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to convince him to take this senior driving course to get a discount on our auto insurance. It seemed like I wouldn’t be that age for years.

Now I’m 55, and we can finally take the course together and get that auto insurance discount. Instead of feeling joy at saving money, I just feel oddly old. I mean I still feel young, but really, in all honesty, I’m not young anymore.

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For years, both my husband and I have ripped up and thrown away invitations to join AARP. (C'mon, admit it; many of you have done the same.) Those invites start arriving in the mailbox at age 50. That seems so young. Rather than join AARP and take advantage of various discounts, we refused to believe we were old enough to qualify and turned up our noses at the offers.

A quick Google search showed that I also now qualify for discounts at Perkins and Arby’s, and many other places with that AARP card I still don’t have. Most McDonald's locations provide people over age 55 with discounted coffee and beverages. I can get discounts at some grocery stores, one of my favorite craft stores, some hotels, some cruise lines, some wireless carriers, as well as on oil changes and auto parts.

But first I have to accept that I’m, well, old. I’m a … senior citizen. (I can’t even write that without shuddering.)

“Perkins defines a ‘senior’ as a person age 55 or older,” a Google site says.

Ouch.

Another Google search led me to a site that defines “over the hill.”

“What age is over the hill? Some sites proclaim that, as soon you turn 40, you're over the hill. Apparently, 40 is the average mid-point in life. Before that, you were a high-achieving young person. But after your 40th birthday, you are on the slow, irreversible decline to boring, musty old-age.”

How about this revelation I found while Googling:

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“What is middle age for a woman? Definitions. According to the Oxford English Dictionary middle age is between about 45 and 65: ‘The period between early adulthood and old age, usually considered as the years from about 45 to 65.’”

Another site told me that as people age, old age moves back. “On average, adults between the ages of 30 and 49 think old age begins at 69. People who are currently 50-64 believe old age starts at 72. Responders who are 65 and older say old age begins at 74.”

I can identify with that. I remember thinking 40 sounded old, until my parents turned that age. Then 50 seemed ancient, until my parents turned 50. My dad just turned 80 (10 days before I hit this ripe old age of 55), and suddenly I’m eyeing 90 for him.

My Google searches tell me the senior discounts will just keep coming as I turn 60, 62 and 65. I suppose now that I’m 55 it just might be time to become an AARP member … maybe.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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