When I was a teen, I could barely wait to turn twenty-one. It represented freedom: the freedom to vote, the freedom to drink in bars; and other freedoms that I really didn’t care about. I married at twenty, so I could legally drink in bars as long as I was with my husband who was over twenty-one. I could also drink in the Capital Bar in Socorro, NM with my friends who were students at New Mexico Tech. Back in those days, Socorro was kind of a sovereign nation ruled by Tech students. They had their own rules, laws and justice system. For independent bar drinking I coveted a driver’s license with a birthdate twenty-one years prior to the date on which I was attempting to enter a bar.
I will turn sixty-five this year and I can barely wait. At sixty-five, I’ll qualify for Medicare. Medicare represents freedom from the health insurance ties that bind most of us to the workplace. I was able to retire at sixty-two only because I had been a Federal Government employee and we were able to retain our health insurance benefits in retirement once having met minimum retirement criteria. For most people, however, that Medicare card is the equivalent to the driver’s license of the newly-turned twenty-one year old.
I turned twenty-one many years ago (let’s see; sixty-four, minus twenty-one equals forty-three – yep, I didn’t go to college for nothin’). I don’t know if I was hassled by telemarketers looking to sell me alcohol the year I turned twenty-one, but I am currently being hassled by “Medicare Advisors” trying to sell me their services. I receive between ten and fifteen calls a day. I’ve asked to be put on “do-not-call” lists; I’ve threatened to report callers and their organizations to the FCC; but mostly, I just don’t pick up (by the way, if I’ve missed a call from you, I apologize). That, and formerly unknown aches and pains are the downside of turning sixty-five. Beyond those things the perks of turning sixty-five are great. In addition to Medicare eligibility, I also like the discounts and special deals afforded the aging. I do get a little discouraged, when people don’t even ask if I’m sixty-five, but rather determine my eligibility for all-things senior-citizen-worthy by simply examining the many wrinkles on my face (those wrinkles help to hold my glasses in place, which in turn hide the bags under my eyes). Aging is not always easy, or pretty, but even while aging, life is good.
I wonder if I was talking to a telemarketer.