I have been renting a house for the last three years. During this time I often receive mail addressed to previous tenants that used to live here, so Joan Lutz, if your out there, your mail is still coming here years later. It is not uncommon that junk mail and letters addressed to others are mistakenly found on my floor when I walk in the door daily.
Recently I had a rude awakening. As I was bending down to pick up the bulk mass mailings of weekly super market fliers, along with my monthly State Farm solicitation, and the weekly Land’s End and L.L. Bean catalogues, which have increased during the holiday season, I saw an unfamiliar magazine. Immediately I thought Joan Lutz. But no, it was addressed to ME and it was AARP! AARP is the acronym for the American Association of Retired Persons!!
After the initial shock, I went on an emotional roller coaster ride which lasted at least a long 15 minutes. First came denial. This is a mistake. I am not old enough to be a member of AARP. That’s the magazine for old people, senior citizens are age 65 and up and I’m only 45. At this point I don’t even accept or identify myself as being middle age so you can imagine my ego’s horror of being on a senior citizens mailing list.
Next came anger. How could they possible get my name and address? Who does the fact checking to see just how old someone is? I have a current valid drivers license and a social security card. Google those or just my name and all kinds of facts appear confirming my age, which once again, does not fall into the senior citizen population.
After taking a breath, and finding my way to the couch to sit down before I slumped my way down the wall to sit on the floor amongst my bulk junk mail, bargaining made an appearance in my thinking and it sounded like this. Dear God, I know I’m a sugar addict and Oreos are not a proper breakfast meal, I don’t sleep enough, but how can I when you put all the funny comedy central shows on late at night? I know I rarely exercise, (no excuse), but I will start to eat properly, get eight hours of sleep nightly and start to run three miles a day even outside in the cold AND be a better person in all areas of my life if you would please not allow premature literature to cross my path again, spiraling me into an insecure, vain, botox wanting, desperate woman. Please God, I promise.
I sat on my couch in at stupor. While sitting there I noticed a feeling of a heaviness entering my spirit. The best description would be that a gray cloud floated into my mind and soul. The feeling of “why bother” and the “it”s all down hill from here” were creeping into my psyche and I realized I wanted to close the blinds, turn off the phone, pull the covers up over my head and grab the Oreos. Depression was seducing me. I know depression, it’s friends with the Oreos.
I expected to see ads for old age retirement homes, discount coupons for eye glasses, definitely Ibuprofen advertisement and perhaps and article on ballroom dancing. So as I was sitting on the couch I decided to take a look. Michelle Obama was on the cover and she looks great, not a wrinkle. (OH..maybe coupons for botox inside). An article “2011 Best Places the GOOD LIFE FOR LESS! Page 46” and “6 Months to a New Job- and a Fat Paycheck”, which confused me because I thought the whole idea of retirement is to notwork? My interest was piqued. I like those topics and I want that information so I opened the AARP magazine.
The first picture I saw was a beach at sunrise with three surfers headed to the water and bowl of raisin bran, my favorite cereal, with the slogan “I am taking the board out of retirement. WHAT? There were articles on “ Have Fun, HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT PANCAKES”, “Save Money THE CHEAPEST TIME TO FLY IS”, and “Feel Great, IF YOU WANT TO LIVE LONGER”, (debatable), and this was only page eight! Flipping through I was shocked to see articles on actors I love IE. – Jayne Lynch, Gene Hackman and Viola Davis. Not quite my peers but identifiable. And then reality hit. The Miralax advertisement, an article “Save Your Eyesight” and an add to Fight Advanced Prostate Cancer. This was scary stuff for me. Unfamiliar territory but I reminded myself that’s life. I read on and decided I liked this magazine. This is good stuff. This is living. These Seniors have it going on. A few health hurdles but they don’t act like victims like I do.
I ruminated for a bit looking at the big picture and came to the conclusion that this was a wake up call, an opportunity to take care of myself . Now sitting up with an attitude adjustment, acceptance entered my thinking. I am on my way to AARP land. It doesn’t seem like a bad place to be. I felt encouraged, even excited about making healthy changes in my life. After the emotional roller coaster ride, I realized I went through the Kubler-Ross model of the “Five Stages of Grief”. I experienced them all and actually have extra pep in my step, a new attitude, a banana in my purse and a smile on my face.