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The art of aging

January 28th, 2010

As a second semester senior, I’m starting to feel the effects of my age. I am stiff when I wake up in the morning, I forget everything, and I walk around campus complaining about how “things were different in my day.” 

I’m really getting freaked out by the fact that suddenly I’m relating better with my 39-year-old sister than my 15-year-old nephew. We both hit up great deals at New York & Company and spent the holidays comparing prices of pencil skirts. 

On my way home the other day I drove past a friend’s home and actually said aloud, “They really need to paint that house.” I knew at that moment that I was in fact becoming more mature. Weird. 

Lately, I have been trying to reverse this process with little actions like wearing Batman belts to formal parties and balancing on curbs whenever I walk somewhere. But then I had an epiphany. 

Getting old is going to be sweet. Sure the adult thing may not be that exciting, but becoming a senior citizen sure will be. Think about it. You have the whole respect your elders thing going for you, so you can get away with whatever you want. There is a poem by Jenny Joseph called “When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple” that speaks of the brilliance I am talking about. Let’s take a gander, shall we? 

“I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired and gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells.” How awesome would it be seeing an old woman laughing slyly in the corner as thousands evacuate the theater during a particularly awful movie.

 “And run my stick along the public railings
/And make up for the sobriety of my youth.” I can definitely see myself dragging my cane, which I purchased specifically for this purpose, across every fence I see. Wrought iron, wood, whatever it’s getting clanked. Plus, “making up for the sobriety of my youth” holds a lot of entertaining possibilities considering it will be free of worry about the potential photos that will end up on Facebook the next day. 

“I shall go out in my slippers in the rain/
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens/
And learn to spit.” Classic and classy, I’m totally for it. 

These lines give me hope for my senior citizenship. They inspired me to make a few old lady vows of my own. Here’s what I have so far: I shall eat stewed tomatoes daily, but throw prunes at whoever tries to give them to me. I shall stare at people on public transportation until they volunteer their seat or conversation. I shall remove my teeth at inappropriate times. I shall exaggerate the stories of my youth and take full advantage of senior discounts everywhere I go. 

I have also compiled a list of the many perks of being old. These are just the obvious ones: discounts at the movies, practically free Bob Evans cuisine, bridge games (which are really just a cover for drinking and talking about dirty things with my friends), young boys carrying my groceries to my car, retirement, also known as the entire day to watch soaps and trash TV, grandkids, and immunity from criticism. 

There are the less obvious perks as well, electric scooters, free snow and lawn care, that really cool old person smell, a sudden inherent obsession with game-show hosts, and an excuse to buy moth balls. What could be better? I know I’m pumped. 

So here’s to getting older, to the wrinkles, the old lady perms, the Depends and the false teeth. Here’s to growing old but not up and to the days when we can “make up for the sobriety of our youth.