It's Official. I'm a Senior. | 1010 Park Place
— Life —

It’s Official. I’m a Senior.

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It happened in the blink of an eye. There it was… Confirmation I’m officially “old.” Without even having to whip out my photo ID or my AARP card (which was shredded upon receipt), I was given a “senior discount” at the hospital cafe.

I’ve been visiting my tiny grandson in the NICU for the last four weeks. He was born nine weeks early, and since then, trips to the hospital have been part of my regular routine. I frequent the coffee bar in the cafe, and never pay much attention to the cash register when paying for my decaf nonfat latte, aka “what’s the point.” Today I just happened to notice a senior discount was applied to my purchase. Immediately I went into a tailspin.

  • Looks like my new eye serum isn’t working as well as I thought it was.
  • I thought those marionette lines were getting deeper.
  • Maybe I need to do something more drastic. No… Brenda’s post about Botox confirmed my vow to stay away from the needle.
  • It’s only been a few months since I turned 60. I must be declining quickly.

While waiting for the elevator, I noticed my reflection in a mirror. Why would someone think I’m a senior? In the magazines, seniors have white hair and are riding bicycles through retirement communities. Seniors were the Golden Girls, and I’d just been compared to Estelle Getty.

At 53, I became a first-time entrepreneur! I am a life purpose coach for midlife women, helping them flourish in their life, faith and career. In the past year, I’ve been busier than ever, working for a nonprofit that supports Christian women in the workplace, while starting my own nonprofit to serve women who’ve been wounded through abuse and exploitation. I’m also working on a personal and spiritual growth workbook to be published this summer. Me… a senior?

I ducked into the ladies’ room and took a quick peek in the mirror. Maybe it’s my hair. Maybe I need an updated wardrobe. Maybe I need a makeover from some hip millennial at Sephora. Whatever the remedy, I had to do it quick. People were looking at me and seeing a senior!

Then I got a grip. There I was, a champion for women over 50 who writes and speaks about authenticity. I had just presented a workshop on overcoming self-sabotage, including fear, perfectionism and comparisons. As much as I had poured “you are enough, just as you are,” into the lives of women, I had forgotten to believe it about myself.

I walked down the hallway to the NICU, realizing that what was most important was my tiny little grandson, my family, my circle of friends and my faith. I had a stern talk with myself, and would have kicked me in the rear if I’d been younger. Wrinkles and all, I am who God created me to be. I am complete and beloved, just as I am. Enough said.

When I shared my brief but dramatic “senior” experience with my daughter, she said, “Relax Mom. Seniors at the hospital are anyone over 50.”

Okay! Now I’ll cheerfully accept that 58 cent discount and start a fund to buy myself a bike.


8 Comments

  • Reply Karen Austin March 1, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I was with my children and my mother-in-law (19 years my senior) when a hostess offered me the senior discount. I was only 47 at the time! For a few weeks after that, I didn’t leave the house without wearing lipstick and a push-up bra. That was 8 years ago, and it hasn’t happened since (even when without make up and bra and while wearing sweats). I suppose at some point I will be happy to save a little money at the expense of my ego.

    • Reply Susan Tolles March 1, 2017 at 8:16 pm

      A senior discount at 47?? And in the presence of your mother-in-law? Horrors! I might have gone straight to the plastic surgeon. I won’t be caught without my lipstick in public. Maybe I need to learn to live on the wild side! On second thought, I don’t want to scare anyone to death.

  • Reply Beth March 1, 2017 at 8:14 am

    As a gorgeous white-haired, bicycle riding 60-year old I revel in my discounts— I earned them. I fought against the Vietnam War, I helped changed a nation. I burned my young bra and was a forerunner for women’s rights. I was on the front lines for equal pay in the workplace. I lived and fought on the cutting edges of change. I’ve retired three times, I’ve survived cancer and a brain tumor. I’m a mother, wife, friend, aunt, grandmother. I earned every line and every penny. It took a while but I am joyfully accepting being a senior because its unlike any generation of seniors before in history. Just like you, WE Rock!

    • Reply Susan Tolles March 1, 2017 at 8:25 pm

      BRAVO, Beth! What a great role model you are for your grandchildren. You have created a rich legacy that will impact many. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Diane March 1, 2017 at 10:25 am

    I was so excited when I received my first senior’s discount! I’ve earned it!

  • Reply Susan Tolles March 1, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Diane, now that the initial shock has passed–and now that I know I only had to be 50 to receive the discount–I have moved to acceptance as I laugh about the whole incident. As much as I would like for these lines and sags to go away, they are part of my “history,” so bring on the discounts!

  • Reply 1010ParkPlace March 2, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    Like you, Susan, I thought it was 60 and was horrified. I have noticed that when making an airline reservation and I click on “Senior,” I don’t get a discount. Don’t remember which airline, but it was more, so I stopped that nonsense. Think they’ve caught on that we’re the wealthiest demographic in history! xoxox, Brenda

  • Reply Susan Tolles March 4, 2017 at 10:37 am

    One of my best friends recently reached 65. She is loving Medicare! I’m not sure I’ll be as happy as she is, but maybe I’ll actually get something back for all I’ve paid in to the government coffers. That and Social Security may be our only financial rewards for getting old. I guess I’ll have to hang out at the hospital cafe when I want to claim my “benefit!”

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