Please Don't Call Me A Senior Citizen

NOTE: The information provided below is solely the opinion of the author of this Hub

"I Love Life" - Elise Curran, my seventh grade teacher who lived to be 100 years old

I will cut to the chase.

First, I am a non-conformist. I do not follow the piper. I want to be myself and referred to myself by my name only: Lea Tartanian.

That being said, I am not happy with being a part of a society that tacks on me the term, "Senior Citizen" when age 49 disappears.

How dare they? Who, on earth is responsible for this?

Just last week during an appointment with my foot doctor he grumbled, "I just turned fifty, and I have already received a letter to join AARP! I threw it in the garbage!" I told him I did the same thing.

I cringe when an individual says to me, "I just had a senior moment;" "It's hell getting old," "I am old and decrepit," "It felt good that they (young people) spent time with an old antique like me." When someone makes a statement like that, it places the listener in an awkward position. What is he/she supposed to reply?

Even one of my close friends said to me (she was in TEARS), "I don't know what I'm going to do when you die." (WHAT???)

I responded, "I am not going anywhere!"

Let's get one thing straight: I do not do 'senior moment.' I do not do 'AARP.' I do not do senior citizen discount. I will never join the Red Hat Society. I do not lean over my shopping cart at the grocery store and shuffle along. I NEVER take a shuttle. I refuse to spread the kind of karma that screams, "I've got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel."

This is why I am currently writing a book containing reasons why I LOVE the second half of life.

I cherish this time of living instead of existing. I did not wait until retirement age to quit my job. I left a lot earlier than my peers.

Why? Because I decided money is not that important. LIFE is important. I wanted to get up each morning with NO PLANS.

And this is what I am doing:

My morning walks savoring nature without the stress of having to go to work.

Barnes & Noble. I LIVE there!

I read, and I write.

I keep a prayer notebook and I go through it every day...a lot of my hub friends are on it.

Movies! I am a movie addict, and I have been to more matinees that I can count.

I hug our four cats even though they own me.

All the above I do first thing ahead of routines and obligations.

Money? I took a huge cut in pay. And I don't miss one cent. I could have worked a few more years and made more...but I decided the art of being alive was more important to me.

I have decided I do not need one thing in this house. I am slowly weeding out everything. I have three or four sets of clothing. That is all I need. I literally threw away all my work clothes the week after I quit my job.

Back to the Senior Citizen aggravation.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist William Ecenbarger published an article in the Christian Science Monitor titled, "'Senior Citizen' is a euphemism that just doesn't fit."

He writes, "...don't call me golden-ager, oldster, coot, curmudgeon, geezer, fogy, old-timer, prime-timer, retired person, mature American, season citizen, silver fox, young at heart, chronologically gifted...and please, please, don't call me a senior citizen." (NOTE: I WILL ADD TO THIS LIST ELDERLY AND MATRONLY).

He continues, "what's wrong with 'senior citizen?' For starters, it's a condescending, demeaning, patronizing euphemism. It is the latest incarnation in the age-old struggle to find a term for old that is linguistically, ethically, and most of all, politically correct.

"'Senior Citizen' connotes shuffleboard and pinochle, rocking chairs and golf carts, frailty and dependency. There are far too many 70-year old hang gliders, computer whizzes and marathoners for the stereotype to have any validity at all."

Finally he concludes, "I blame a lot of this on vote-hungry office-seekers and officeholders slobbering over our 'senior citizens' in the belief that it is somehow bad politics to call old people old. Junior Citizens hear me out! The American Heritage Book of English Usage traces the coinage of 'senior citizen' back to a 1938 article in Time Magazine. That makes it 66 years old. Time to retire it."

I believe William Ecenbarger summarized his article perfectly with his statement that the stereotype of 'senior citizen' has no validity at all and that is IS time to retire it.

Just as I cringe when a store clerk says to me "Happy Holidays," instead of "Merry Christmas," I shudder if I see the word 'senior' on a movie ticket or Senior Citizen Discount meals listed on a menu in a restaurant. Do they think I am so poor I cannot afford an extra 50 cents?

Not once in my life have I ever said to ANYONE, "I am old."

Being referred to as a Senior Citizen is, to me, an insult. Therefore, please do not call me that. I am Lea C. Tartanian, a female adult, who is living her life to the fullest. Like BillyBuc, I am squeezing as much passion out of life as I can.

Blessings to all, Sparklea

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Comments 29 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 19 months ago from Olympia, WA

YOU GO, GIRL!!!!!!!

I love it!

I just got a call from my best friend who I haven't seen in twenty years. We had so much fun talking about our lives together, and so excited that we re-connected. First thing he asked me is if we could play catch if he brought his baseball glove. I laughed so hard....yes we'll play catch, just as we've always done, and we'll have a blast doing it.

Old? I don't think so!

blessings my friend...now I have to go pet the rabbit. :)


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 19 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

What an interesting perspective. I suppose I make the mistake of acting old from time to time. But I think I did that more in my thirties. Sometimes I feel old after an hour workout or carrying a 50 lb pack for several miles. Chasing my 5 year old around for a full day wears me out.

Interestingly if after reading you for a couple of years now someone were to ask me to guess your age I would have been dumbstruck. Some folks just don't seem to have an age. You gave me a lot to ponder here. Thanks.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 19 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Billybuc: thank you for taking time to read this and for your comments and support. ENJOY your best friend...the person I finally found last week, I have not seen since high school and we talked an hour on the phone...I just mailed her a bunch of photos and I am going to call her this weekend. Thank you for understanding my perspective. I am hoping to include this in my book about the second half of life. God bless you real good and thanks again, Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 19 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Ericdierker! Thrilled to hear from you as always. I so appreciate your comments. The times I feel the most vulnerable is when I am behind on my sleep. I forgot to mention the importance of getting a good night's sleep, so vital for our energy, stamina and outlook on life.

I hope you ponder :) I have read many books on aging and they are so annoying and negative. I want to write about how great the second half of life can be. Thanks from my heart for stopping by and for your feedback. God bless always Eric Sparklea :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 19 months ago from southern USA

Hi, my dear vibrant and full of life, friend, Lea! Wow, I love your perspective here ... why don't you tell us how you really feel about the subject : ) ... Oh, you did and with great passion. I love it when a person is so passionate about something and is not afraid to tell the world exactly why. You have given us all much food for thought.

After having been healed of breast cancer, I so welcome each new birthday and realize there is a reason why I am still here.

Your book is going to be amazing and I just know it will make the New York Times Best Seller! Anyone who writes with such passion about living life to the full no matter what age, is sure to inspire many who have been brainwashed into thinking they are "old". I will certainly be mindful of my words about myself and aging, so thank you dear friend.

All I know is that when I look at you all I see is a young, beautiful woman, Lea, my friend.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

God bless you and thank you for always keeping me and my family in your prayers

Oh, I am with you on the "Merry Christmas" too!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 19 months ago from Queensland Australia

Good for you Sparklea! This is a great message and I'm sure your book will be a huge hit. We all age but there'ss no rule saying we have to act old. I don't feel like a senior citizen and certainly don't act like one, even though here in Australia you can obtain a senior's card and some benefits from age 55. I too retired early and am enjoying the extra freedom. Money is tight but we get by, and there are more important things in life. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 19 months ago

Great theme for consideration what age we are and how we have to be called. A 'second half ' of our earthly journey is more interesting when we decide the longevity first half of ' my ' limit. When I was younger I liked the #120 because the Creator has declared a mortal's days will be hundred and twenty years. Pretty cool, eh ? Son when realized how fast those days are moving by my connoting stopped at thirty nine in order to be in best physical-mental condition while maturing in wisdom and knowledge and never become an 'old' man, in this culture popularly label "senior" citizen... It's a wrong design for a person getting from very own son a congratulation to frothy-nineth anniversary of the twenty ninth birthday. It was then... Though a limit has been set recorded in the Book, some people lived beyond that age negotiating extension due to righteousness relationship with the heavenly Father. God isn't in hurry to take anyone hastily out of this earthly realm, unless due to mistaken identity some individuals cause their own premature ending... So, the answer each person has to answer for himself/herself ' what do you want?' You dear friend have made exceptionally important point for your entirely BOOK , quitting your employment at your term and choose to LIVE... Great decision, and I am positive the right decision since in your daily walk you are delighting in the Lord the faithful One will give you the desire of your heart.

Voted up beautiful and interesting.

Be blessed of the Lord and a blessing as you already are.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 19 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Dear wonderful Faith Reaper: THANK you for stopping by and for your very encouraging words about the book I am working on. I SO hope I can motivate those past 49 about the art of living the second half of life...and I mean LIVING, not existing!

I so appreciate your enthusiasm and comments, they mean the world to me. Thank you also for your votes, and for sharing. I continue to pray for all of you daily especially your sister and your daughter. No sign of my son mother's day, the worst day of the year for me, just a short text only. We all have our 'thing' that we count on God to strengthen us with.

Please pray God writes His book through me to encourage readers about how good life is, regardless of circumstances. And thank you again for being so loyal with your comments.

I am reading your "hug of the day" in segments as I have not been home these past several days. You write such glorious hubs, along with videos, photos and quotes. You are just amazing...So thrilled to know you. God bless, Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 19 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Jodah, it is a pleasure to hear from you and I thank you for your positive feedback. Glad you also left your job ahead of time, I have never regretted it. Time is so important...and I have known people who have worked until age 80 then died shortly thereafter. Just not worth it. A couple nurses I worked with could not wait to retire then passed away unexpectedly from cancer. We just have to live, live, live and savor every second of the time God has given us!

God bless, and so glad to hear from you. Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 19 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Dear Micheal-Milec, what a wonderful note from you, which has lifted me into the 'earthly heavenlies' - what phenomenal words of encouragement you have shared regarding the book I am trying to put together to show people that in my heart I believe life to be so good. Trials in my life? Of course...multiple...but God has never let me down, ever! Your statement, 'the faithful one will give you the desire of your heart' totally overwhelmed me beyond measure. Thank you FROM MY HEART for your kind and genuine words. You are a treasure to me, both on Hub Pages and Face Book. God bless you real good always, Sparklea :)


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 19 months ago from The Beautiful South

Have to agree with you on this, and there must be some ploy behind it all we are not getting! I have actually heard people talk about the senior benefits like quarter coffees and free drinks and food discounts; get real and then too I always wondered at the seniors getting all the discounts; heck they are usually the only ones with any money!!

Didn't know about your book; good luck with that and I am sure it will be a wonderful read! ^+


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 19 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Jackie, thank you so much for taking time to read this. I always enjoy hearing from you and I love the questions you post on the hubs. I am hoping to include a chapter in my book regarding the above...Most books I have read on aging are so negative. I LOVE Billy Graham but his book (I think titled Almost Home) is so dismal to me...I browsed it several times at Barnes & Noble) but I would not buy it. There is a lot of mind set as people get older...they can become bitter or better, stronger or weaker. I am hoping my book will encourage those past 49 to savor every moment and not start the "I'm old" mantra. Sadly, I have friends who do that and I will not feed into it. Thanks again for your feedback, and I need a lot of prayer regarding my book as I have dedicated it to my Creator. Blessings, Sparklea :)


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 19 months ago

Sparklea It is almost 5;00 A.M. I worked last night and I came home to your kind comment. I read this hub and comments. You are very wise. Show the world your talents and deep passion. I am so blessed to have a friend like you. I am off to dreamland but soon I look forward to reading more of your work. Make it a great day


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 18 months ago from Upstate New York Author

THANK YOU DREAM ON, and I hope you got some sleep! I am trying to get on Hub Pages more, and to read more...me and the clock go on marathons and lots of time the clock wins! thank you from my heart for your comments regarding this hub. I believe in my heart people should LIVE until God takes them and not dwell on age. I am writing a book about the second half of life NOT aging! God bless you real good. I will be back. Blessings always Sparklea :)


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 18 months ago

I love when people try their best and keep trying to do things that make them feel good and then find ways to share it with the world. How far have you come with your book so far?Life is a challenge always experiencing the unexpected. I hope you get plenty of rest too. Good night talk soon.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 18 months ago from Long Island, NY

I can relate to what you are saying. I just turned 65 and besides the fact that I just started Medicare, everything else is still the same. I'm not changing what I do for enjoyment, what I eat, when I sleep, or anything else. I plan to remain as active as I have always been. I feel like that is what actually avoids the aging mental process, even if the body grows tired at times.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 18 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Dream On: The book is coming slow because I want every single sentence in it to be interesting and inspiring. Like you I want to share my writing with the world. I so appreciate your understanding of what I am trying to relate here. So thankful for my friends on the hubs. God bless, Sparklea :)


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 18 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Glenn, thanks for stopping by and for your stamina and apparent love for life. I read somewhere that death comes quicker to those who SIT. Activity is vital for all ages, even children. My sister works at a school and she said many of the children - 5th graders - are obese from sitting around and caught up in cell phone and games on their computers...where they are just sitting and eating. Also I have found that action absorbs anxiety. Sitting is the worse thing ever. A close friend who lived to be in her nineties started sitting and sitting...and by the time she got ill she could not even stand up. She died in six weeks. Atrophy is the worst thing ever, in my opinion. God bless and I so appreciate your comments. SO GLAD you plan to remain active. Sparklea


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 16 months ago from Home Sweet Home

After 60 is consider a senior here, fifty is still in middle age .


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 16 months ago

I reread your hub again thinking that we have to make every moment count. Because in the future we may not be able to write like today. I spend a lot of time in nursing homes and I look at the shape their body and minds are. Now they can't write even if they tried. It scares me. I get too emotional.That my story will never be told. Then I think what was their story. Maybe they were doctors, lawyers and even writers. Maybe just good old mom and dad. A wonderful sister with no family left. Now left alone where they should be comforted the most. It burns me up. To see anyone sad and unhappy when there is no need for it. I can go on and on like a scratched record. Repeating the same story until someone listens. Hoping one day there will be less sadness and anger in the world replaced by love. I received your comments and sent you an email. Please let me know if you received it. As always enjoyed your no nonsense approach to life. Have an incredible day.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 16 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Good morning again Dream On! I am leaving the house shortly but I will check out my emails later and let you know if I received it. THANK you for even taking the time to write me a note.

Thanks also for reviewing this hub. I mean every single word.

This will make you laugh: I have a twin sister who bought a bus ticket that was good for 3 months and they stamped "Senior" on it. She was so furious she would not use it. The next time she bought a ticket...let's just say they won't do THAT again! LOL God bless, Sparklea, will stay in touch.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 16 months ago

Sparklea (Lea C. Tartanian) Have you ever tried boxing ?You throw one heck of a punch. I love your spirit and enthusiasm.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 15 months ago

Congratulations on four years at HubPages. I am so glad you joined.Where does the time go? I have been trying to do more stretching exercises my body isn't as limber as it use to be. I also turned fifty last year and I am trying to do everything I can to keep active.


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 15 months ago from Upstate New York Author

Hi Dream On, I thought it was only three years, but maybe it's four! Yes, where does the time go? Yes, we must keep active, and that is why I am obsessed with walking every single day! My sis and I went to NYC yesterday and walked in that terrible heat, but I still refused to take a cab! Didn't hurt us a bit! Blessings, Sparklea :)


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 13 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

I feel bad because I can't do all the stuff I use to do before PD, but I will never stop trying. I still walk just a little slower, and do most of the same things. Age is just a number and I don't feel like I am done yet. I enjoyed your hub and feel the same way on most of what you have written. God Bless


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 13 months ago from Upstate New York Author

ladyguitarpicker: my computer is not working...keeps deleting my replies, so one more try...my husband has PD (perephial disease?) and diabetes. DO keep walking!


Sparklea profile image

Sparklea 13 months ago from Upstate New York Author

ladyguitarpicker: continued...I have two people very close to me who died from lack of exercise...developed atrophy in both legs. I suggest you research it. I just had foot surgery but I am still hobbling...and hope to graduate to walking within a couple weeks. Thank you for your feedback. Blessings, Sparklea


ladyguitarpicker profile image

ladyguitarpicker 13 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

Sparklea, no it is Parkinson disease, thanks I never even though about perephial disease. Anyway, it all is not good, and exercise is very important. Blessings, Stella


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

Sparklea, I came across Billy Graham's new book you mentioned; well, his latest and I will try to give it a go during the holidays. I do love that man so hope there will be much of interest. Could be someone else helped write it if it didn't grab you right off. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all could have a husband like him? He would never be alone with a woman for any reason to protect his reputation throughout life. But he had a wonderful wife and a wonderful life; keeping his eye on the prize of eternity and our savior, Jesus Christ.

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