AARP AND THE JITTERBUG
By Suzanne Goldblatt
Months before I turned fifty, The American Association of Retired Persons, better known as AARP, began sending me membership applications. I opened the first one, became agitated when I saw what it was and immediately threw it in the trash. The subsequent ones I just tossed without opening.
Impossible, I thought. They can’t mean me. I’m no senior citizen. I’ve still got things I want to do. I’m not old. I’ve got nothing in common with them. I’m still young. Well, I soon learned to never say never.
Flash forward - A cold, rainy Tuesday morning, I was at my volunteer post at Sentara Bayside hospital working the Patient Information Desk. At times, traffic is slow and phones don’t ring, so we volunteers like to bring something to read to help pass the time. This morning, as I searched for something to read, I saw that someone had dropped off a few AARP magazines. Having no other reading material to choose from, I picked up a copy with Goldie Hawn on the cover. Boy, I thought, she looks great for her age. Actually, she looks great for any age. I thumbed through the mag and, surprise of all surprises; I found that I was enjoying what I was reading. I could positively relate to the articles and found myself shaking my head in agreement with many. It contained lots of useful information, too. Umm, maybe I do have something in common with these folks. Maybe, I will join AARP, just to get a subscription to the magazine, of course.
It took me a few weeks to take the leap and admit that I was, indeed, an official senior citizen and did share many common interests with those whom I had always considered much, much older than I.
So, I joined the ranks and reluctantly became a card carrying member of the huge AARP crowd.
Another old age perk that I kept ignoring was the grocery story discount. The age requirement varies from store to store. The store I most frequent states that you have to be fifty years of age to receive the Tuesday five percent discount. Finally, my frugality overtook my vanity and I signed up. I must say that when I first started asking for the senior discount, I had hoped that the cashier would say, “Oh, you don’t look old enough for that. That did happen, but, unfortunately, only once.
The next age reality check happened when I saw an ad for the Jitterbug cell phone. This phone is touted as being “The Phone” for seniors. As much as I had previously run from everything labeling me a senior, I couldn’t believe that I was thinking about ordering one. Every time I would see it advertised, I would think, yeah, but it sounds like everything that I want in a cell phone. It doesn’t have all the “bells and whistles” that most of the other phones have now a days. It doesn’t take photos or play music. It just allows you to simply make and receive phone calls. It has large keys and a big, clear display so that you can read the numbers without your bifocals. It sports a soft ear cushion to reduce outside noise so you can hear better. It does have voicemail, a preset phone list of people that you often call, call history and is voice activated if you so choose to use that feature.
Anyway, I bought the phone and I love it. I can see the numbers on the key pad and the screen text is easy to read. I fought a long and hard battle against this aging admittance thing, but now that I’ve officially stepped into the senior citizen category, I’ve learned that it’s not so bad. If you can maintain good health, it ain’t so bad; ain’t so bad, at all.