I’m soon to be fifty, but right now I’m still 49, and so I must admit that I was slightly deflated to receive my AARP Card in the mail (or at least my “offer,” of one—not that I don’t appreciate how the sample card is twice as big as any regular sort of card that would currently fit into my pre-retirement wallet—and with letters so big as to be not blurry to aging eyes).
Still, when I think “retirement,” I think luxury; Janice Ian singing, “I learned the truth as seventeen, that love was meant for beauty queens and high school girls with clear skinned smiles who married young and then retired.”
Sure I’m nearly fifty, but retire? As if!
It’s not just that I still have things to do, say and contribute—everybody qualifies for that. It’s that I still have over a hundred grand in student loans, as I borrow yet more money to educate my children. The generation that cooked up AARP in the first place has made it so impossible for my generation, but particularly for gens X, Y and WTF behind me, that I’d feel more validated with a WNRUD card (will not retire until dead).
So, as long as I’m going to be working, mostly happily I hope, until I drop, I’d like to propose a different sort of organization that could still advocate for the well-being of mature individuals, but neither insult them with the impossible (retire), nor propagate the absurd idea that a job is an identity (as if I’m supposed to start making ships inside of bottles or something now that I’m getting on in years).
Also, because I’m an extreme late bloomer, I only just now feel the way I imaginged or hoped that “normal,” well-adjusted, socially related, confident people felt as children and adolescents (at least until becoming a psychologist and learning that most of us feel as insecure as I always did). In other words, I’m just getting started. Whatever it is, maybe nearing the finish line of my year of blogging mindfully, I’m getting a school’s about to be out and I’m ready to have some fun sort of feeling—but still, that doesn’t mean “retirement,” it means holiday—holy day of the most secular variety, appropriately profane but not lacking in the sacred one can also hope.
And for younger parents out there, you cannot imagine how fast kids go from zero to sixteen (that’s all I know of the road so far) and I can say that at least the cusp of fifty does not feel anything like time for AARP.
Thus the group I would really want to join must be invented: AAAG (American Association of Actual Grown-ups), better yet WAAG (World Association of Actual Grown-ups). Of course it is completely virtual, with no dues, no money exchanged, no agenda to change the reigning order of the world—just a commitment to increasing consciousness and to connecting, as actual (and not merely chronological) grown-ups, in the service of all our collective children (many of whom may well be developmentally still kids while also being members of AARP).
So, I don’t care if the tail WAAGs the dog or vice versa—I’m just looking for a few good grown-ups to stand with me, keep me company and join me in whistling while we work, write and parent. BTW our local chapter of WAAG meets irregularly in the Virtual Salon. Now it’s off to work on my ship in a bottle and then hit the earl bird special.
p.s. If you join WAAG it comes with a free subscription to Enough