"" Writer's Wanderings: Elderly Traveler?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Elderly Traveler?

Remember when you couldn't wait to be 16 and get a driver's license? After that, 18 and 21 became magical numbers. Thirty-something was popularized by a TV show. Hitting 40 always seems to be a significant plateau good for some, not so good for others. Suddenly 60 appears and retirement looms and well, where did it all go?

For those of us in good health, 60-something is hard to imagine. As my 89 year-old-aunt said, "Honey, I may be 80 on the outside but I'm still 16 on the inside!" That first time the youngster at McDonald's automatically rings up your "senior coffee" is a bit disappointing. Disappointing until you realize how much you are saving. It doesn't hurt so bad anymore.

Lately, we have discovered more senior discounts as we travel around the world. In some countries tourist attractions give you a break at 60. Others set the bar at 65. Some advertise their discounts, others don't. We've learned to ask. Getting old isn't so bad suddenly.

But elderly? I've heard several news stories lately that have reported on "elderly" persons who were younger than I am. Am I elderly, I wondered? I thought I might get a good answer from one of our local news anchors, Robin Swoboda. She responded to my FB inquiry with a laugh and set the bar at 85 for elderly.

Don't tell my mother-in-law that. She just turned 90 this year and is as active as ever. As a matter of fact, we had a difficult time keeping up with her on the last couple of cruises we took together. Just another affirmation that "elderly" is a state of mind.

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