Monday, July 15, 2013
When I turned 50, some very kind American friends (now ex-friends!) reminded me that I would now belong to AARP. Being British I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about and thought they were just making seal noises. After enlightening me to what this was, American Association of Retired Persons, I was horrified. How awful. Was 50 that old? I didn't feel old. Surely I didn't look that old and anyway, I wasn't retired! In the UK we have a similar thing, called OAP - Old Age Pensioner - but it doesn't come into effect until you are 60 years old (65 for men) which seems much more reasonable. It is commonly referred to by people asking if you have a Bus Pass (as in "Oi Mate, got yer Bus Pass?"), which is given to you so you can get cheaper fares on public transport and to get into the movies and such.
My friends kept teasing me , shouting "AAARRRRPPP!" loudly every time they saw me and sure enough, a couple of weeks after my 50th birthday, an envelope arrived with AARP's distinctive red logo on the front. I immediately threw it in the recycling. How dare they!
In the year since I have successfully deluded myself into feeling much younger, helped by all the young people around me at work. I always feel that I am the same age as everyone and then get shocked to the core when I realise I am old enough to be their mother.
A couple of months ago, my husband and I bought a new car - a Mini Cooper convertible - which is such fun and makes me feel like I am young again as my 2nd car was a Mini, but one of the originals with no acceleration and useless heating. I can't tell you how fantastic it is to whizz around with the roof down in the gorgeous Californian sunshine, driving through the beautiful vineyards, the wind ruffling my hair and feeling like I'm 20 again.
My enjoyment came to an abrupt end the other day, however, when we received the licence plate in the mail. Sigh.