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The latest TV commercial from AARP (see link below) might be food for thought if everyone wasn’t so hell-bent on taking the so-called ‘mickey’ out of it.
It features a series of vignettes of men and women irrevocably confined to the territory of middle age and beyond, pondering rather idealistically what they’d like to be ‘when they grow up.’
The grey-haired denizens of life experience are suddenly dreaming of being rock stars or falling in love again.
Clearly, it’s meant to be charming. But it runs the risk of critics pointing the finger and chuckling sotto voce that there’s no fool like an old fool.
And that’s not even the scary part.
Given that AARP stands for American Association of Retired Persons (http://www NULL.aarp NULL.org/) and touts itself as “the exclusive community for people age 50 and over,” any woman who had her kids in her forties ought to sit up and take notice.
By definition, over-40 moms are only a few steps away from The Over 50 Club.
In fact, this reverend year, when the autumn sun strikes the shingled rooftop of Chez Flower Power Mom, the half century will turn over like a large, weighted cog in the Big Ben of my lifetime—Lizzie will turn 5, Alex will be 8 and I shall transcend youth to become 50 years old.
All of these years, Age was following along behind me just out of sight, scurrying to hide behind the rocks and trees along my journey and laughing all the way to the time bank.
It’s true what they say, I’ve learned. One morning, you wake up and your hair is more than 50 percent grey, your breasts look like uncooked pancakes and your rear end is dragging three feet behind you in the dirt.
Or at least, that’s how it measures up compared to how I looked in my twenties.
What’s more, in a few months, I could actually become a card carrying member of a club that was once anathema to me—the ‘elderly’ who, upon retirement, turned into Florida snow birds, discovered their 30-year marriages were mere empty shells, and traveled in packs on tour buses for one last junket before coming to rest in the local bone-yard.
Such a fate seemed worse than death.
Yet, now I’m looking that “fate worse than death” in the eye—or perhaps, the mirror.
Suddenly, the whole notion of life insurance premiums, creeping arthritis, and Mediterranean cruises (complete with old men wearing togas) loom large as matters of genuine concern.
Will my life insurance payments be the size of my mortgage? Will I ever be able to put on a pair of ice skates again without fear of falling down and breaking my ass as if the cheeks were made of hand-blown glass?
And as far as the ocean cruises with octogenarians are concerned, I need a triple shot of brandy before I can even begin contemplating what must feel like being buried alive in a sardine can wrapped in ancient, mildewed wallpaper alongside the mummified remains of a toothless Mick Jagger.
You can almost hear me bolting upright in bed a night, and screaming across the universe like Ricardo Montalban (http://en NULL.wikipedia NULL.org/wiki/Ricardo_Montalb%C3%A1n) in the 1982 Star Trek film “The Wrath of Khan” (http://en NULL.wikiquote NULL.org/wiki/Star_Trek_II:_The_Wrath_of_Khan) that I’m “marooned for all eternity, at the center of a dead planet! BURIED ALIVE!”
Still, the morning sun of yet another more quickly passing day floods my bedroom with the leavening light of reason.
When I was in my 20s, people did retire at 50 or 55 and then began the steady descent towards a berth at the funeral home. To live until 70 meant you had cheated death.
But much about old age has changed since then. Now the average life expectancy of a mom is 80 or more. Fifty is the new 40—or perhaps even 30.
As an over-40 mom, if you look after your body—live a lifestyle that supports longevity and quality of life—you’ll have a shot of seeing your kids grow up and embark upon the journey of fulfilling their own dreams.
Spend enough time at the gym with a good trainer and you’ll find a way to prop up the body parts that look like they’re trying to run away from home.
That AARP bought the pitch their ad agency sold them about their target market is a sign of the times—a shift in social consciousness about what constitutes ‘old.’
Hell, if it’s all up for grabs, then there’s no star too far: When I grow up, I want to be a grandma!”
Notes for this blog:
If you’d like to view the AARP TV ad, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bvm1C9gE9k (http://)
- (http://www NULL.ctvnews NULL.ca/health/health-headlines/women-increasingly-going-online-to-seek-free-sperm-donors-1 NULL.1590245)
Angel on CNN(http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)
CNN Mother's Day: "Mature Moms" (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=WySnP2nnwXU)(http://youtu NULL.be/atScMih4_d0) (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
AARP's "Inside E-Sreet" on PBS TV (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=sGRro4rHGeA)
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