“I’m kind of comfortable with getting older because it’s better than the other option, which is being dead.” – George Clooney
I’ll turn 50 this December. I’ve never minded aging, because I’ve lost people I really love far too early in their lives, so Clooney’s quote hits, but I’m conflicted about this birthday. On one hand, I’ve made it this far without getting hit by a bus or choked by an angry reader, so I have that going for me, which is nice. On the other hand, AARP is already sending me The Girlfriend and, the other day, someone not yet alive when George W. Bush defeated John Kerry called me ma’am, so it’s a mixed bag.
There is one thing that isn’t a mixed bag about turning 50: I can join the Adventure Club.
Former Mayor Mike Yakes used to wax poetic about the Gulfport Senior Center and call Gulfport a “community for a lifetime,” but it didn’t mean much; I would never join a senior center. I remember the Clearwater one from my youth; its members sold doilies at the annual craft sale. I’m not really a doily kind of gal, so no, thank you.
Something happened, though, because as much as I cringe at belonging to anything with “senior” in its name, I’m excited about joining the Gulfport Senior Center. Rachel Cataldo, the Center’s force majeure, told me people age differently in today’s world, and today’s senior centers are cows of a different color. To wit, the Center’s Adventure Club. They went parasailing last week, and they have an indoor skydiving trip and (already sold-out) helicopter ride planned.
We sent Abby Baker on their parasailing trip last week. She came back and announced she wanted them to all be her grandparents (OK, that didn’t make me feel younger, but I appreciate the sentiment) because they were so much fun.
This is definitely not my (grand)father’s senior center.
Plus, the new Center will look – again, Abby’s words – like a ski lodge. I’d prefer an island resort, but either way it looks less like a place people go to crochet doilies (although I do knit a mean dog sweater) and more like a place for your kayaking meetup. It’s like a return to college for Gen X.
I do wish they’d drop the “senior” from the name, though. After all, I’m not old. In my mind, I’m 25, and age is a state of mind, right?