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National Editorials & Columns

Views: Not ready to turn the big 5-0

The AARP may be a fine organization; I don’t know. It’s been my understanding that the group is for people who are age 50 and older, and since I am not yet 50, I have felt no compulsion to delve into the specifics of membership.

I’m not sure anyone remembers what the letters in AARP stand for, but I’m pretty sure that the RP stands for Retired Persons. I am not a retired person, and at the rate I’m going, I might never be.

So, while I have no affinity for or affiliation with AARP, I do have some advice: If you want people like me to some day join your organization, don’t send us invites when we’re still in our 40s.

I checked the website, and I am not eligible to join AARP so why would I want your flier in the mail? I guess I could subscribe to the magazine or give membership as a gift, but these are all things that those of us still in our 40s do not want to think about.

Yes, I know one should plan ahead. I should have a nursing home plan and a gravesite. I realize that I could go at any time, but if I do, I’m not going to be too worried about it. I have nothing to leave behind, anyway.

I do have a plan of sorts. If I were to kick off prematurely, my kids have keys to the house. They can come in and remove whatever they want. When they’re done, they can leave the doors open and let the neighbors have a look around. I have enough life insurance for burial or cremation or donation to science. I don’t really care at that point. That’s the plan. I know it’s not a good plan, but that’s it.

What I don’t want are letters from AARP telling me that I’m about to be officially old. I don’t need to be told that. I have a mirror.

The sad thing is, I will turn 50 before the end of this year. The big 5-0. When that day comes, many months from now, I do not want a party. I do not want birthday cards. I do not want a cake. And I sure as heck do not want notification from the AARP.

You might say that I’m not aging graciously. That’s an understatement. I will grow old kicking and screaming.

No offense to people who are old. I guess I’m part of that group of people who believe you’re only as old as you feel and act, although I’m not sure you can reconcile those two. If I’m as old as I feel and act, I am concurrently 85 and 19.

In any case, I am not 50, so save your postage, AARP. You can’t have me yet.

Although I am looking forward to the restaurant discounts; I’m only a senior citizen at the cash register.

• David Porter who can be reached at

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