Friday, February 11, 2011


In today's mail, I received a personal invitation to join AARP. I find myself inexplicably tickled pink. For you young readers, AARP is the American Association of Retired People, or some such thing; interestingly, the full name is not spelled out on the literature.

(The massive clicking you hear right now? That's the sound of Fallen Princess being un-followed by every subscriber who found me through Style Rookie.)

My first reaction to the mailing was, "Sweet, I can now get the hefty AARP discount." For a mere $16 per year! I immediately called my husband at work to tell him the excellent news. He was silent for a beat. Confused about what was expected of him, no doubt. Sucks to be him.

The thing is, I am not 50 yet! I won't even be 49 1/2 until March 15. My main concern here: can I still have the discount? (The letter says it's for all people over 50, whether retired or not.) I am also wondering about the AARP status of people just a few years older than me. Do the members of Sonic Youth, for example, have AARP memberships? What about, like, Debbie Harry? Iggy Pop?

"I remember when I got my first AARP card in the mail," said my friend Mike Flaherty, age 50, when I emailed him the news. "That was a pretty momentous day...almost as depressing as when I found myself in Duane Reade buying Gold Bond Foot Cream." I can always count on Mike to make a funny.

About 10 years ago, I saw my mother cry after she was able to get a senior discount for a parking permit. I was completely shocked. My mother does not cry easily, and furthermore, as I hadn't even turned 40 yet, I was insensitive about the trauma of finding oneself a senior. My feeling was, she is that age, so what is the problem?

A few years after that, my mom and aunts were lamenting their wrinkles. I was scoffing because they have so few wrinkles between the three of them that it is actually unfair to other septuagenarians. "No one wants to look old on the outside, when you feel just the same inside as you always did," said my aunt. This is true."You know the only alternative to getting older," my dad used to say. "Dying." He died at 58, never to collect a senior discount.

I have gotten increasingly aggressive about telling people my age before they even ask. I keep my birth year on my Facebook page, though no one over 30 seems to. Taking it off won't make you any younger, people! This is not to say that I am happy about getting older.

Last night, at poker, two of the other ladies were almost exactly my age. One said, "50 is the new 30." I don't really agree, but whatever gets you through, I guess.


  1. I don't put my birth year because I am paranoid about identity theft. I read your whole blog from top to bottom today as part of my "recovery" and laughed, laughed my f*cking ass off.

  2. I'm with Emma Magenta about not giving the year. But I love telling people my age! So much better for people to be surprised that you're elderly than for people to think you're lying about your supposed youth like a scuzzy congressman on Craigslist.

  3. you give me hope to carry on, christina. oh god, the day that aarp thing comes in the mail is going to be a dark one, i just know it. i try not to be weird about age, but it's hard when i feel like i'm about 12 most of the time.

  4. I don't put my year on there because it gives me a false sense of security. As much a sense as I can have, given my mother has her maiden name splashed all over Facebook. (sigh)

    I got my first AARP letter 3 years ago, at the tender age of 35. Apparently my apartment complex used to be senior housing. Yay me.

  5. It's pretty weird that people think it's some kind of piteous tragedy that they haven't died. I don't dig the effects of age on my body and face, and I don't much appreciate the condescension from the under-30 either, but I am THRILLED to still be alive.

  6. It used to be my job to filter and sort mail for a handsome, active boss who'd qualify for AARP. I remember he'd get occasional AARP mailings, and I wasn't sure what to do about them at first. Pass them into his "to read" mail, or toss them? I decided to include just one, in case he really was interested in the discounts, but I put all subsequent mailings in recycling.

  7. I remember in high school when my Father first got an AARP newsletter and there was a big article inside that turned out to be an interview with none other than...Debbie Harry! For some reason her presence in the magazine made him depressed, while I took it up to my room and obsessively pored over the thing.

    I think making peace with getting older is the new 30, but what do I know? I'm a whippersnapper in my twenties.

  8. Ha! I got one of these letters the week I graduated college; I was 23! Then, I got another one right before my 26th birthday. I'm nearing 30 these days and have yet to receive another one. Yet...

  9. I am the same way. My mother and mother-in-law both moan about their birthdays and claim to be 39 even though they are approaching 80. I don't get the black wreath jokes. Be proud of your age - you earned it!!

  10. Shame on my readers if they unfollowed after this.
    I read AARP magazine when my 60 year old dad leaves it lying around and I'm looking for homework distractors. The Betty White issue was particularly good.