At the end of this month I will turn sixty-five and am now a card-carrying Medicare member. In fact, my billfold sports three new cards in their respective slots, a rather flimsy looking Part A and B card, a sturdy looking supplement, and a rather attractive prescription card. All three attest to the fact that I am now of a certain age. In my youth I remember thinking that people who were sixty-five had wiry white hair, stooped shoulders and were cane carrying folk. Yet my hair is dark and shiny, thanks to a hair stylist and a great formula, and I am still upright and energetic.
I have never been one who was coy about my age. I have not kept it a secret. Yet now that sixty-five is here I find a touch of vanity approaching. I am just a little over 5’1″. As a child in the 50’s I recall that when my parents wanted me placed in first grade when I was not yet 6, an administrator told my dad, “She’s too small.” My father, who scoffed at the “size” reasoning, suggested testing and on to first grade I went. Later, when carded while in my thirties, a waitress actually said, “You look too small.” My point in relating stature to vanity is that when I first pull out my Medicare card to get a flu shot, I am hoping that the needle wielding technician will gasp and say, “You’re too small to be on Medicare!”
In mulling over my Medicare status it has been inevitable that I ponder my age. In the past few years I have noticed something that truly annoys me. On a few occasions, at a sporting event or concert, when an older man is the ticket taker, he will often smile at me and say, “Welcome, young lady!” I find this irritating since I have not even thought about my age until that point. His exclamation lets me know that he sees I am not young and thinks the “young lady” will somehow comfort me. I want to tell him that it’s quite alright to be an older woman and he doesn’t need to try being clever. I find it even more annoying that no one greets my grey haired husband with, “Welcome, young man!”
The truth be told, I am happy to be alive and enjoying life. I think that I will display my Medicare card with pride to anyone who chances to peek into my purse. I will march into the Minute Clinic and flash a youthful grin at the nurse. Sixty-five, here I come!