10 Signs You're Turning Into a Senior Citizen
Some lifetime milestones are easy to identify: when you graduate from high school, get your first-ever driver's license, or register to vote. Other changes appear more gradually. There's no official certification agency handing out "senior citizen" badges (though there is a minimum age to start collecting Social Security), but long before you reach the official retirement age, you start noticing signs that indicate you're not exactly what advertisers call the "youth demographic" anymore. Here are a few of the more egregious ones.
Your weekend activities may have changed, but your recovery times are about the same. Difference is, Young You needed a whole day to recover from the previous night's ribald revelries and intoxicating excesses, whereas Old You needs a whole day to recover because you pulled a muscle reaching up to clean the shower head during your wild-n-crazy Saturday night housecleaning marathon.
Maybe it's true that a classic never gets old, but fans of those classics do. When the soundtrack music of your rebellious youth starts playing on classic rock stations and commercials for high-fiber breakfast cereal, it's not youth music anymore.
Find the list of musicians who appeared at this year's Grammys or MTV Awards. How many of them do you recognize? As you grow older, that number gets closer to zero. How many songs do you recognize from this week's Top 40? Wait, do they still have a Top 40?
This is an especially likely occurrence for women of A Certain Age -- and you know you're reached that Certain Age the first time you see a teenage girl and, before you can stop yourself, think "Oh, she has such a pretty face! Why is she hiding it underneath all that makeup?" -- just like Grandma said to you, back in the day.
There's a certain peculiar mathematical error commonly made by people old enough to have adult memories of the last millennium: calculating time with the assumption that it's still the year 2000. For example, you might find yourself thinking "Ronald Reagan was president in the 1980s. That was only 20 years ago, right? And President Jimmy Carter was 30 years ago, in the 1970s." Then you remember the year, do the math and the results are depressing.
Retail establishments that sell age-restricted items (mainly alcohol and tobacco) will often have little signs by the checkout lanes, reminding customers that they cannot buy alcohol unless they were born on or before today's date, 21 years ago. It can be a harsh reminder of how far back 21 was for you and how much older you are than today's 21-year-olds.
When the Simpsons premiered in 1989, the characters of Homer and Marge Simpson were in their late 30s, early middle age. That was almost three decades ago. They haven't aged a day -- but you have. (If you're Generation X or earlier, you are now older than Superman's parents: The original comic strip had Ma and Pa Kent raising little Clark in the 1930s, whereas the latest Superman reboot shows Clark growing up in the '90s.)
When you're a kid, few things are more flattering than people thinking you're older and more mature than you actually are -- and someone thinking you're actually much younger is a major insult. But that dynamic reverses, sometime around middle age. Now it's a compliment if you're told you look younger than you are -- and retail clerks who work on commission always assure you that you do.
This one's a no-brainer: If AARP is mailing you stuff, you're probably left the youth demographic behind. Maybe you tell yourself "There must be a mistake, some data entry clerk must've clicked the wrong button somewhere" – then you realize the celebrity on the cover of this month's AARP magazine was the one you had a crush on, back in college. And the celebrity is telling the interviewer all about the joys of grandparenthood, too.
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