A few years ago, when I moved from a regular phone to a smart phone, I had the first indication that I had been advanced to the “senior” category.
While comparing different smart phones I asked the sales person, a male in his early 30s, for more information about certain phone features. After numerous questions and answers were resolved, I needed specific pricing information and that’s when it came!
He looked at me, paused and then said: “Depending on your age, we do have discounts for seniors available”. And I don’t believe I heard anything else after that!
I remember thinking: “Ya, right I’ll buy a phone from you buddy! What is he thinking! I’m only 55 and he’s referring to me as a senior? I don’t believe this…!
Had a similar experience?
I didn’t think of myself as a senior then and I don’t think of myself as a senior now, four month shy of 60.
The last time I was carded for alcohol I was 41. What happened?
The term senior brings up many different images for me, not all of them are positive. Some of my own stuff, probably. But some from a society that values youth and most of what goes along with it.
This brings up the question what does the term “senior” actually mean? And after just a little digging, here is what I found.
First the dictionary: many dictionaries and many definitions. Without going into too much detail, most definitions define a senior as:
An elderly person, who is retired or whose principal source of support is a pension or Social Security benefits.
I don’t know about you, however, I am not retired and my principle sources of support are neither pension nor social security benefits.
Next Wikipedia, which tells us that “The age which qualifies for senior citizen status varies widely. In governmental contexts it is usually associated with an age at which pensions or medical benefits for the elderly become available. In commercial contexts, where it may serve as a marketing device to attract customers, the age is often significantly lower.
In the United States, the standard retirement age is currently 65 (gradually increasing to 67). In Canada, the OASP (Old Age Security Pension) is available at 65 (gradually increasing to 67, starting in the period 2023-2029), and the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) as early as age 60.
The AARP allows couples in which one spouse has reached the age of 50 to join, regardless of the age of the other spouse.”
There you have it!
The term senior is applied across an array of situations. And if you’re past the age of 50 you may be considered a senior no matter if you feel like a senior or you’re ready for it.
As for me, I think it’s time to redefine the term “senior” for myself, free from societal stereotypes and limitations. And I came across a video from CNN-IBN (Indian Broadcasting Network) that helped me do just that.
The video features a Senior Citizen Awards ceremony: “Live begins at 60: Retired but not Tired”.
The 12 individuals honored are truly inspiring! Enjoy…