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10 Not-So-Marvelous Things About Being 65

Stop pestering us with the retirement questions already!

1. People keep asking when you're planning to retire.

Sometimes, this is actually illegal, or at least it should be -- certainly when the boss invites you into her office and acts all friendly-like before popping the big question. Definitely a no-no.

At other times, it's fine -- like when you're out drinking with your besties and someone brings up retirement and everyone guffaws like that's ever going to happen and you order another round. 

But as a rule, it's an annoying question to be constantly getting. Retirement is an elusive state that few of us currently can afford. Besides, we are living longer and who wants to spend the next 30 years idle? When you ask me when I plan on retiring, it feels like you are shoving me toward the exit door. So please stop asking. Besides, I will likely announce my retirement in the ambulance ride from my desk to the hospital. 

2. You are automatically enrolled in Medicare.

I've been trying to get excited about this for some time now. Medicare Part A covers hospitalizations and is entirely free free free if you qualify, which is pretty much everyone who has ever held a job. Like a lot of people, I haven't been hospitalized in decades but I suppose it's good to know that Medicare Part A will presumably pick up the tab should that happen. 

The rest of Medicare -- Parts B through Z or however many there are  -- all cost money. Each one does different things and you need a PhD in Medicare to figure out which parts you need. Actually, what you really need is crystal ball to let you know what services you will need if your health fails in the coming year. Oh, and the Medicare rules change annually, just to add to the degree of difficulty. Confused? You aren't alone.

3. People assume you have no sex life.

I'd like to point out that people my age have the highest rates ofsexually transmitted diseases. And those buggers don't come from knitting in the rocking chair.

4. You are constantly reminded that you haven't saved enough for retirement.

Reminders are a good thing, I suppose. Some solutions to fix the problem would probably be a bit more useful and certainly more appreciated. Spare me the lecture on saving more, since that train has left the station. We earn. We spend what we earn. We earn more and we spend more. And this isn't lavish living, it's paying the bills. At least buy me a lottery ticket the next time you wag your finger in my direction and tell me I should have saved more.

5. They stop making shoes that fit you.

It's like there was some secret meeting in Milan where all the shoe manufacturers conspired and said, "Pish, who cares about those 65-year-old women with their bunions and toe nail fungus. Let them wear sneakers on the streets of Paris for all we care!" This is totally the next Dan Brown book.

Here's an entrepreneurial tip for you: Whoever designs a pair of stylish comfortable shoes is going to be gloriously rich. I'm available to discuss. We can do lunch.

6. Ladies don't really do lunch.

This is one of the harsh truths about the current state of aging. All those fantasies I had about enjoying leisurely lunches, sipping chilled white wine at outdoor cafes and never having to worry about a deadline or meeting the school bus -- lies, all lies. Nobody does lunch. Lunch is the boring salad you brought from home. Lunch is the stale power bar you found at the bottom of your tote. Lunch is the forgotten meal, replaced by green vegetable sludge drinks and gallons of designer coffee.

Sad, really.

7. You have no choice but to become well-versed in eyewear.

First came the computer glasses, then the reading glasses, then the glasses you need to drive at night. Then came the failed attempt at wearing progressive lenses that left you dizzy and wanting to puke. Throw in a few pair of prescription sunglasses, a failed attempt at contacts and you are now begging someone to please just replace your eyeballs with new ones that function.

8. You are finally forced to give up coffee.

And what did it take? Stained teeth. No teeth-brightener in the world gets those chompers sparkling like they once did, but you are ready to consider all available damage-control methods. Yes, you may blame your mother for giving you tetracycline as a kid if it makes you feel better.

9. People say you still look good "for your age."

Those may be the three most-dreaded words a 65-year-old woman can hear. They are right up there with "your gray is really stubborn," and "we have a seniors' discount" (before you've asked for one). Compliments shouldn't be qualified.

10. "You don't look 65" becomes insulting in its own way.

I am 65 and this is what I look like, so thusly this is what 65 looks like -- still with me? What the speaker is saying here is that looking 65 would be a bad thing and, in this twisted compliment kind of way, you don't look bad.

We all age differently. Sometimes it's connected to our lifestyles and more likely, it's related to our genes. I got gene-lucky. 

So what is the single most-marvelous thing about being 65? That I'm still here looking forward to my next birthday.

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