By Cindy Eastman
Just this week, I happily bounced out of a Sutherlin, Oregon beauty shop with a fresh haircut. I’ve learned that in these uncertain times, we can’t always count on a beauty shop being open. The cost was far less than I was expecting, too. In my imagination, which works very well, I assumed they had given me a “welcome back, customer” discount or even a “good-looking discount” since I haven’t been in for a while. But about halfway down the street, I realized with great dismay, that they had given me the senior citizen discount!
Twenty-five Cents: Are You Kidding Me?
How dare they, I thought – don’t I still look youthful? They just assumed I qualified for this honorable discount by looking at me. I can’t imagine. It reminded me of an experience I had just a few short years ago in Hillsboro. I recall distinctly that the 25-cent discount was not worth the blow to my ego. I was in a McDonald’s drive-through ordering a coffee only. When I pulled up to the window, I swear the young man reeled backward and exclaimed, “Oh, my, next time, tell us you’re a senior so you can get your discount!” He reeled back so far, the counter top hit him in the buttocks. If I’d had my way, I would have hit him somewhere above that. But I sat sweetly in my car with my hands folded (like a good senior would do) and waited for him to calculate my discount. It was a 25-cent savings. Not worth it. I would have paid a whole dollar for that coffee and driven off still thinking I look 40 if I’d had my way.
Better with Age
Since then and still, now, I’m being forced to process what it is to look older to other people. I’ve had to struggle with my sensitive ego and know that I’m not automatically included in younger people’s activities. It’s a process and I will get through it, but it’s too bad because really, I’m a lot more fun today than I was 30 years ago.
Thirty years ago, I worried a lot more and had difficult challenges in my life. Today, thanks to the wisdom that comes with aging, I’m happier in spirit, much smarter, and much more accepting of myself and others than I was at 30. I can usually keep up, too, both physically and mentally in nearly everything. I just went hiking with a 24-year-old and the steep hills were tough because I’m in need of a new knee (equivalent to a midlife tire change) , but I still kept up. I solved that problem by ordering hiking poles for the next hike. I’m a problem solver – another positive point of getting older. So, I’ll learn to accept that thanks to wrinkles and other tell-tale signs of aging, I’m going to receive that discount from this day forward. I just wish it were more than a silly old quarter.