A word of advice to the marketing department at AARP (American Association of Retired Persons):
You might want to hold off on sending out those early invitations to join the AARP, especially those sent A FULL FIVE MONTHS before the recipient turns 50. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think most people, in the last precious months they have left to cling to their forties, want to be reminded constantly of the fact that they are hitting FIFTY very, very soon. I mean, nothing says “Welcome to the SECOND HALF CENTURY OF YOUR LIFE” quite like seeing your name on an AARP card.
I wish I were one of those women who says brightly, “Fifty is the new thirty!” Or who call hot flashes “power surges.” I really do. But I went into full menopause at 44 (because of severe stress, I think), and after six, stinkin’ years of waking up drenched in sweat and knowing my flushed face is like a red light blinking the message, “WARNING! MENOPAUSAL WOMAN! STAND BACK!”…well, I’m having a little trouble working up enthusiasm for middle age. Not to mention my hair falling out or my skin going dry as the desert floor in August. It seems like some cosmic joke that I got a mustache around the same time my adolescent son did.
And, yeah, I wish my husband and I could retire and look like the happy couple pictured in the AARP ads. You know, the ones with heads thrown back in gleeful joy, with her long, flowing hair blowing out behind her? If we could retire right now, we’d look like that, too. (Except for the hair, I guess. And the smooth, supple skin. And the perfect white teeth. And the stylish clothes. Other than that…the same.)
But, sorry, AARP, I guess I’ll just have to return your shiny membership card in the post-paid envelope you so thoughtfully provided—along with a carefully-worded note telling you exactly where you can stuff it.