In With the Old: Why I Love Being a Senior (and you will, too)


license picTwenty months ago, I celebrated my 55th birthday. But it wasn’t until a couple of days ago, just as Father Time was making for the exit door, that I actually ordered my first meal off a senior menu. Naturally, this put me in a pensive mood, so as I sat before my one-egg-omelet and bran muffin, I got to thinking about life at 55+. I decided that seniority rocks, and here’s why:

You have even more reasons to tell your kids to “look it up.”

Where were you in ’92? If you’re like me, you were mothering four little children and expecting your fifth. You weren’t paying much attention to the evening news, because all the current events you needed to know about were taking place in your kitchen. So now that your school-aged kids are asking you about, say, the effects of 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, you’re justified in replying, “I don’t know; look it up.” Not only because you weren’t paying attention when Hurricane Andrew was in the news, but also because you were sitting in history class years before there even was a Hurricane Andrew.

You can rock accessories that would have made you look ridiculous when you were younger.

If at age 40 you were seen in public wearing a top hat and gladiator boots, people would call you crazy. But if you stepped out in those same accessories at age 55, you’d be admired for your spunk and élan. I should know. Every day, my grandma used to don silk brocade dresses and ornate Italian gold jewelry and stroll around our Bronx neighborhood. In the summertime, she’d also – no kidding – wear flowers in her hair. Far from being ostracized, Nanny was one of the most popular gals at the senior center.

You get invited to things

My parish has something called the Tuesday Breakfast Club. Its members are older ladies who dine together at a local eatery every Tuesday morning after Mass. Recently, one of the club members collared me after morning Mass and assured me that, before I knew it, I’d be joining the ladies on their breakfast outings. It was the closest thing to an invitation that I’d received since wearing my gladiator boots to Costco.

Your Biblical counterparts are awesome

The widow who gave two mites. Anna, the prophetess. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. Sarah, the wife of Abraham. (Incidentally, Sarah lived to be 127!) These women served God in quiet ways. They are splendid role models for those of us who – willing spirit notwithstanding – may no longer have the oomph to found orders, confront kings, or trek around the world as missionaries.

People think you look great, even if you don’t really

Sad but true:  When folks find out that you’ve raised a large family, they expect you to look like the bedraggled old woman who lived in a shoe. This means that you need only avoid sinking into bedragglement in order to be considered a regular peach. As long as you have decent posture and most of your teeth, people will be impressed.

Are you 55 or older, and if so, what do you like best about being a senior?

Will you attain seniorhood in 2016?  How do you feel about that?


Copyright 2016 Celeste Behe
Photo copyright 2016 Celeste Behe. All rights reserved.


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  1. I turned 50 over the summer and I thought I was doing OK with that. Then today on a Catholic radio show, the clearly-younger-than-me hostess was talking about an encounter with a woman she described as “frazzled” and “50 years old.” At which point I envisioned Kathy Bates’ character in “Fried Green Tomatoes” and realized I’m about the age of that character now…as opposed to the young girls whose car she rammed in the parking lot–whose age I was closer to when I first saw the movie.
    I can be good with being 50. My gray hair is my badge of honor for making it this far. And yes, sometimes I’m frazzled.
    So thanks, Celeste, for showing me how to celebrate it, because the world out there doesn’t make 50 something to shout about.

  2. Maybe you and I can bunk together in the same nursing home someday, and continue the fun of aging with wheelchair races down the hall. No, wheelchair jousting tournaments (we can steel canes from the ones who are still able to walk.)

  3. At my work, there are three of us way past retirement age who work full time and then some. My peeve is with those who retire at 65 or earlier and then effectively ” leave the world “. They no longer answer e-mail, send Christmas cards, do any decent amount of volunteer work.
    The brain seems to deteriorate quite rapidly when one chooses to descend into the regression permitted by state supported infantilism . Having a large family, unless you are doing a lot of the babysitting and meal preparation, doesn’t qualify you to veg. As long as we are alive and in pretty good health, we should be contributing to society in some way, and not just living off the public teat.

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