Glass Half Full: Entering the AARP years | SierraSun.com

Glass Half Full: Entering the AARP years

Ruth Glass

In a culture that celebrates youth and beauty, this growing older stuff carries some challenges. Check the morning and evening news, where the anchors and reporters all seem to be about twenty-three (I exaggerate slightly for effect).

If you are a woman, it's hard not to notice that male stars are allowed to age (gracefully, of course), while their romantic counterparts remain of a certain age. Not the same "Of a Certain Age" used, euphemistically, to describe, well, women of my age.

It has only been very recently that significant roles were written for my contemporaries. Thank you, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close and Helen Mirren, among others, for demonstrating that the multiple appeals of mature women include wisdom, grace, and a distinctive sense of beauty that is in no way of the cookie cutter variety.

There are advantages to entering the AARP years; however, many of them worth noting and appreciating. Early in the summer, I wrote about being the oldest member of our coed softball team — actually, the oldest member of the league.

The fact is, I still can't run as fast as I used to. The good news is that, when I come up to bat, no one has any expectations. I'm always better than people expect. What a nice surprise!

And what about those senior discounts? I just renewed my Diamond Peak full season, unlimited pass. As a senior, the pleasure of skiing our local mountain at any time costs a whopping $119.

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Movie tickets are at least a couple of dollars less than for everyone else. Airlines inquire if I'm a senior when I'm making reservations, though I've yet to notice a price difference.

When I remember to use my AARP card — which I recall first arrived way too early to overcome my resistance to acknowledging that I might be aging — discounts are frequently available. So they are at some restaurants, as long as I'm ready to eat a bit less than traditionally.

Finally, with real maturity come perspective and opportunity. I object strenuously to people who refuse to acknowledge or celebrate birthdays because I know — we all know — too many people who lost the ability to celebrate long before their time.

We have all lost friends and family members. Ideally, however, we have gained patience and insight. We have realized that picking one's battles demonstrates maturity, not a lack of passion or commitment.

We have learned there are always two sides, at least, to every story and several shades of gray between black and white.

We accept that we will not be perfect: not as people, not as parents. And if we are really lucky, we are gifted with the opportunity to be grandparents, and we can love on a whole different level, without the same pressure of "Doing It Right."

Wayne's and my first grandchild is scheduled to arrive mid-February. I plan to enjoy every moment of this new, advanced stage of life.

Ruth Glass is headmaster at Lake Tahoe School. She can be reached for comment through her blog at http://www.laketahoeschool.org.