In less than five months I’ll be 60.
I really don’t care if you call me a senior citizen.
Experts — obviously a lot younger than me — believe Baby Boomers are turned off by the word “senior.”
They believe the fact senior centers have the word “senior” in the name is why many aging Baby Boomers stay away. Maribeth Bersani — chief executive officer for the Assisted Living Federation of America — goes as far as calling the word senior “definitely old school.” She’s pushing a new name — “Argentum.” That’s Latin for “silver.”
Other places such as Lafayette in Colorado have renamed their senior center “GO Services” which is short for “Grown-up Opportunities.” The theory was the name change would attract more seniors or, if you prefer, age-challenged individuals.
I’d venture to say individual interests are what drive “Argentum people” to “Grown-up Centers” and not the name, per se.
I find people who think those who are over 50, 55, 62, 65, or whatever line in the sands of time one draws to define senior are irked by the term “senior” are a bit full of themselves.
Most who are still breathing after 3 scores probably don’t sweat little things such as what name is attached to a place where social activities and classes take place.
I learned long ago not to be bothered by something I can’t change such as my chronological age.
I have no problem being 59 and — if I live that long — I will have no problem being 89.
As you get older your perspective changes.
You’re not hell-bent to age so you can go to a school dance, drive a car, legally drink, move out on your own or any of the countless things that you are chomping at the bit to do when age is not on your side.
Life, just like fine wine, does indeed get better with age.
Where things go south with the “senior thing” is when people interchange ailments and health issues with the number of years in the rear-view mirror. Yes, bodies do eventually wear out but it is no longer unusual for those who are over society’s proverbial hill to be as smart if not sharper than they were when they were younger, more physically active and even in better shape and/or health. Oscar Wilde and Bernard Shaw are both credited to a degree with writing the six words that those that qualify for “Argentum” discounts truly grasp: “Youth is wasted on the young.”
Those of us who remember watching President Kennedy’s funeral 52 years ago next week on black and white TVs that were in consoles almost as big as a refrigerator with screens the size of a desktop computer screen get it.
If we had gotten serious about a whole lot of things earlier — exercise, healthy eating, being more tolerant and accepting, finances, and such — we all believe life back in our younger days would have been even better.
But then again, that’s the beauty of getting to a point where society calls you a senior comes into play. You’ve lived through it all — self-discovery, the joy and pain of love, the bonehead moves, the failure to take risks, impatience, self-righteousness, and the false belief that you have the world figured it and everyone else are nothing but dolts.
Words tacked onto a building or a person is just background noise. What goes on inside is what matters.
This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209.249.3519.