Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Downhill Side

When I was a kid people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I would answer that I didn't want to grow up. I loved being a kid and staying a kid was just fine by me, thank you very much. Well, time doesn't listen to a kid and it continues to march on. Teenage years come, then go. Twenties happen and youth is embraced. Too soon your twenties fade and you approach the first major milestone of adulthood: the big 3-0!

Turning thirty wasn't traumatic for me as it is for others. I think I took it in stride and lived like I was still young. However, something significant happens when you turn 31 and leave 30 to enter your "thirties". I was unprepared for the implications of such old age.

This thirty-something Peter Pan received a magazine in the mail shortly after turning thirty-one. It was entitled Living Well - A Health & Lifestlye Magazine for Thriving Adults. My first thought was, "I must have arrived, I am apparently a 'thriving adult'." I opened the magazine and the first thing I saw was an ad for dental implants. A cursory check of my mouth revealed that I, despite my advanced age, have retained all my original teeth. Whew!

When I turned the page and saw an ad for a walk-in tub my eyebrow lifted and my suspicion grew. What kind of magazine was this?! Giving it the benefit of the doubt, I kept reading. A few pages later an ad for the Salt Lake Senior Clinic occupied an entire page. Okay, now something was fishy - this wasn't a magazine for thriving thirty-somethings, this was a magazine for the geriatric! Was thirty-one really the new sixty? It seemed so.

With each new ad and article it became very clear that someone somewhere thought I was old. Very, very old. Ads for in-home personal care, health care, hearing aids, retirement communities, estate planning and others made my wife and I laugh but one put us over the top:
a funeral planner!

This Peter Pan may have grown up (and may, or may not, have lost some hair) but if I have anything to do with it, and I think I do, I won't be needing any of these services for a long time. At least until I hit thirty-two...