Have I ever told you guys how much I look forward to getting older? I love the idea of adding a year to my age. Since January this year, I’ve been telling people I’m 32. I’m not 32. I won’t be 32 for a few more months. I just always age myself up.
Sometimes I randomly blurt out that I’m in my late 30s for no other reason than that I like the sound of 37. Then I have to backtrack and explain that I am obviously crazy because I am lying about how old I am. I’ve always been an old soul and I can’t wait until the outside matches the inside. Also, I really, really want silver or white hair because it looks cool.
Let me tell you some of perks I expect to have when I get old enough to be old:
- I will be able to sit down or walk slow all the time without people complaining. And if all the seats are taken, people will give them to me. And if they don’t, I can stand over them and look old until they get up.
- I will never, ever hear “When are you going to have some kids?” They will assume I do have kids who are grown and living on their own or that if I don’t that I had some terrible accident where my vagina fell off. Either way they won’t ask me about it.
- I can get discounts anywhere even if there is no senior citizen discount because I plan to be one of those old people that will complain until you give them 10 percent off anyway.
- No one will interrupt my stories because they never know when I might die so whatever I’m saying is important.
- Most people will be too polite to disagree with me.
- No one will expect me to carry anything.
- White hair is cool. Hopefully mine will be long so I can look like Storm and pretend to be one of the X-Men.
- I can get in one of those motorized chair things in Target and no one will ask questions. I might even drive one down the street like I see these old guys doing all the time. I’ll pretend I’m a car and make illegal left hand turns. If I get a ticket, I’ll be too old to go to jail for not paying it.
- I will be old enough to know better…about everything.
Let me tell you something I almost never think about when I’m daydreaming of being old:
How I’m going to pay my bills when I’m too old to work the way I work right now.
All of us are going to get old and die. But before we die, we will get to the point where we can’t work the way we work right now. If you’re like me, you think of retirement as something that rich people do when they’re tired of working. I don’t have any real life examples of retirement. My parents are only in their 50s. My grandparents are all dead except one and he still works. I used to watch Golden Girls. Oh and I knew Miss Lil.
Let me tell you about Miss Lil:
When I was a 20 year old college student one of my jobs was at a failing Shoneys in Baton Rouge, LA. One of my coworkers was a lovely woman by the name of Lillian (or “Miss Lil” as we called her). She was in her late sixties, early 70s and she worked 45 hours a week as server. She had a bad back, swollen feet, and a hack that you could hear across the restaurant. And she walked so slow that the last thing you wanted to do was get stuck behind Miss Lil with a tray full of food.
If you’re ever waitressed, you know that you’re not really allowed to sit down on the clock, but the manager never said anything when Miss Lil sat down. The rest of us did our best to run her food, help her bus tables, and finish her side work. As nice as she was, we weren’t going the extra mile because we liked her. We just felt like we should because we knew that she needed the help. As much as she needed (and deserved) a good rest, she was just in no financial position to do so. She needed those tips to pay her rent as much as I needed them for college books. Whenever a well meaning customer asked her when she was going to retire, she was smile and say “When money grows on trees or when I die. Whichever comes first.” She said it with a smile and a laugh, but I know she was serious.
Let me tell you why I’m writing this post.
Waitressing can be back breaking work sometimes. And while writing isn’t the same physical work, I still work very hard at what I do. During busy times, I have worked 18 hour days at this, hunched over a computer trying to make my mind spit out brilliance. (Yeah, that was stupid.) Writing is also a mental job so while my hands aren’t calloused and my feet aren’t aching, my mind can sometimes hurt like hell after a long day. I was a writer before I was a worker and I hope to be always writing in some form or fashion. But I also hope I don’t have to write when I’d rather be enjoying my senior citizen discount at Dennys and telling the neighborhood kids to get off my lawn.
So I’m doing something scary. I have an appointment with a financial advisor who is going to take a look at my finances and then tell me what I can do to prepare for the future. I’m a little scared because I’m imagining her saying “Well, it’s too late. You’re going to have die at 65 because you can’t afford to live past that.” Or maybe she’ll just give me some ideas on what to do with my money. I’m going to listen to her and I’m going to try to stick to the plan.
Because, I plan on getting really, really old. Like the people on The Today Show are going to wish me a happy birthday every year because I’m so old. I’m going to be so old that I’m going to be older than everybody I know…because everybody I know will be dead. I’m going to be so old that I’m going to buy support hose, Bengay, and Geritol in bulk. And it’s not going to be free.