I’ve been reading a lot lately about “aging in place.” To be honest, those words perfectly capture how I feel when I see Sean Spicer step to the microphone in the briefing room. I age in place. But then I realized that’s not what they’re talking about at all. (Helpful hint: When politics gets too depressing, watch YouTube videos showing how to transform a toboggan into a nifty dog sweater or Justin Trudeau explaining quantum computing; both work well.) Aging in place means we don’t move out of the homes we have loved for decades just because we’re a little older. Why should we? Like the old saying goes: Just because there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there’s not a fire in the kitchen. Or something like that.
Aging in place is practically a movement these days. There’s an entire industry dedicated to keeping us in our homes. All it takes is retrofitting bathrooms with grab bars, adding a few railings along the hallway walls, arranging for Magnum PI to come to the house and reverse our mortgage, and maybe installing one of those creepy staircase chairs that takes more time than an entire Thanksgiving dinner to move from one floor to another. (“Save some yams for me! I’ll be there in 45 minutes!”) Yeah, you got this. I mean WE got this. I’ve noticed an uptick in mailings from AARP, which I walk briskly to the recycling box, unopened. Did you hear me? BRISKLY. Also, I’m thinking of taking up pickle ball which proves that I’m still young enough to try new things.
For some folks, aging in place isn’t quite as attractive as moving into one of the many “55 plus” communities where you don’t have to worry about maintenance or lawn care. I also get a lot of mail from these communities but, for some reason, the whole concept irritates me. One, in particular, has the vaguely creepy tagline: “Get together with like-minded residents.” Really? You sure about that? What makes you think that just because we are over 55 we all think the same way? There’s an attached slide show of activities that ALL OF US COMRADES apparently enjoy including hiking, swimming, bird watching and doing laundry. Yeah, I was surprised by that last one, too.
Maybe I’m being unfair (first time for everything, am I right?) but I just picture residents of these places sitting around kvetching about the “lazy millennials” and carping about rap music as they smugly congratulate themselves on being over 55, knowing how to fold a fitted sheet and being able to recognize the yellow-tufted-herringbone or whatever.
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Sadly, this cheese stands alone, I’m afraid. Last week, while I was busily aging in place in my office and catching up on my Facebook friends, I noticed several classmates crowing about “the good old days.” Whaaa?. There were only three networks and none of them spelled HBO. Also, and I guess I should’ve said this first, segregation, polio, and the Monkees.