Tuesday, May 8, 2018


I got invited to the local senior center. Not because some organization I support was having an event there, or because the center was having a workshop on backpacking through Eastern Europe. Nope, I was invited because it's a SENIOR center, and I'm now, apparently, a senior. I'm 52 - I thought I wasn't a senior until 55, but I guess I look 55. Or older. The local senior center has free meals and bingo. That's what they think people 55 and over want to do. That's what this person thought I want to do.

It was a great day, truly.

I was angry at being thought of as a senior, it's true. I know I'm not young, but I don't feel ready for that label. But I was also angry that this person thought this is what I'm ready for: free meals and bingo.

Here's what I'd love instead: an energetic community center where adults of all ages come together and intentionally nurture trust and empathy through activities that allow us to interact with each other. A YMCA would be best, but since there's no money for sports courts or a pool, how about a place that has Tai Chi, yoga, Zumba, drumming, classes on investing, computer classes, bicycle safety classes, bocci, corn hole, pool, language classes, presentations by people that have traveled somewhere fascinating or returning Peace Corps volunteers, gardening workshops, cooking classes and a movie night? A place where I could sign up to go, as a group, to music programs in the larger city next door, or all the way to Portland for a professional touring theater show, or a canoeing trip. Even though I don't do either, have a knitting, crochet and/or quilting club.

Are there no nonprofits they could partner with so that they could host even some of those activities?

I'm not young anymore, but I'm not ready for free meals and bingo. I'm trying to improve my off-road motorcycle riding skills. The average age of a motorcycle owner is 48. 39% of motorcycle owners in the US are between the ages of 51-69. Those are my "seniors."

So, no thanks to the senior center. I'll check back in when I'm 80, but just so you know, I see me still listening to the Violent Femmes, not Perry Como.

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