09/07/2010 10:48 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

A Rite of Passage: AARP

Well, it finally happened to me. I was opening my mail--feeling fit as a fiddle -- listening to really cool, new music -- when I saw it. MY FIRST MAILING FROM AARP! Ack!

I know for a fact (since I heard someone from AARP say it in a meeting not even a month ago) that AARP doesn't want to be known as the Association for the Advancement of Retired People anymore. After all, who can afford to retire these days? But there is no question that getting a mailing from AARP means something very specific: I AM GETTING OLD. I am getting to "that age." The age of no return.

I should have seen the signs. Last year it was the granny glasses, which are kind of cute but make me feel like Aunt Bea on The Andy Griffith Show -- especially when I put on my farm country kitchen apron. Then, this year I started buying that blue shampoo because, let's face it, us grey-haired ladies need a little help keeping the grey looking fresh. My very cool hair stylist in New York recommended it. He uses it too. His hair is silver. Are we really that old?


I don't feel that old. I can do a handstand in yoga. I listen to new music like Bon Iver, Band of Horses, and the Avett Brothers. And my memory was always bad.

But I don't want to be one of those people (like my mother) who refuse to admit they are getting old. Woe to anyone who called her a "senior," and her hair NEVER turned grey. It just went from one shade of brown to another, mysteriously, overnight. I've always said I wouldn't mind getting older. But now that it's staring me in the face, it's a different story.

Opening the mailing was a bit of relief. Turns out it was really just an offer to subscribe to the AARP magazine. I know the editor, Hugh Delehanty. He's a good guy. He's cool. He's got grey hair too, but he's from that Beatles generation. He's a boomer. I am on the cusp, half boomer and half Gen X. That means I really don't care for the Beatles, but I love Johnny Cash.

Well, I'm not going to subscribe today. I'm only 48, after all. And I still feel full of life, and lush, like one of those late roses of summer. I'll enjoy it while I can.

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