There are milestones in life: things that change us or that mark our changes, things we’ll remember and reminisce about during maudlin times or family times. A house fire, a divorce, the birth of a first child or first grandchild, deaths, weddings, baptisms and graduations are all milestones of some import.
My husband and I recently joined a senior citizens’ activity center. It felt like a milestone, marking, if not our entry into a certain time of life, at least an acknowledgement of our admission.
I was rather excited when I became eligible to receive discounts at age 55. My husband, who likes to think he looks much younger, was not so enthusiastic. So when a friend told me about the senior center where she works out, I didn’t think Dan would go for it. But it could save us a lot of money when compared to our regular gym, so I pitched the idea. I was surprised when he was willing to investigate.
We were both surprised at the center. It’s practically brand-new; it’s expansive; the fitness room has almost the same equipment we’re used to; it’s more than we hoped for. We joined!
Walking in, seeing a patron being dropped off at the door and using a walker to navigate, one of us said, “I can’t believe we’re doing this.” We don’t feel like seniors!
Walking out, one of us said, “I can’t believe we just joined a senior citizens’ center!”
My late mother-in-law often voiced a philosophy that, “You’re only as old as you feel.” For her, the practical application meant, “You’re only as old as you admit to being.” She talked about getting married again (at age 83), going dancing and getting a boob job. She shopped in the Juniors section. She frequently embarrassed us by flirting with men in their 50’s.
Dan and I readily admit that we’re only as old as we feel. Our practical experience is that we may feel quite old for a few days and then get young again. When we moved a houseful of furniture a couple of years ago, we were so sore and exhausted we were sure we must be very old. After a week or so of moaning, we got over it. When one of us gets sick, it seems like it takes a month to recover. We feel ancient but then it goes away.
Joining a senior citizens’ center was a milestone for both of us. It was as if we “got old” in a day. Our goal, though, is to use the work out equipment to stay feeling, looking and able to act young!
Almost every time we visit the center, someone will suggest they have other activities to offer. We could go have a free donut and coffee. We could take a class turning wine bottles into art. We could learn to use a computer. We politely turn them down and go back to work. Those are milestones for another day.