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Challenge: Happy Birthday!

Welcome to the 50's Club. You are no longer on the waiting list.

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Okay life is good. Things were going really well. I’ve taken on some new challenges in 2020. I think I’m getting this 20/20 vision thing down.

I am seeing a few more gray at the root, but not too bad. I booked that getaway with my husband for the first time in decades. I was thrilled after my eye doctor appointment because the prescription didn’t get any worse. Although I did fall in love with another pair of wildly fancy cheaters, so I seized the moment. It’s one thing I just can’t have enough of around the house, or in the bottom of my purse. I also have been feeling great because I didn’t shrink when I was measured at my annual physical. Still holding tight at 5’4”, and if you join me in that height, it's that perfect ‘dog crotch’ and armpit in a crowd height I’ve learned to love. I also am incredible happy as I'm publishing my book this spring, and just booked an amazing guest for my podcast. It also was the day that Punxsutawney Pete didn't see his shadow and spring is on its way.

And then this happened.

Something arrived in the mail: “Welcome to AARP!” Stamped right on the envelope. Notification of member benefits.

It was an amazing spring- like February day when I walked to the mailbox, and without any warning, without my cell phone in hand to phone a friend, without any real preparation I was issued a “Certificate of Member Benefits” to the biggest old people's club in the world.

How can it be?

I usually get to mailbox and check out the latest Grandinroad, or Sundance Catalog, or the local yankee coupon clipper, but not today. Staring right back at me was the AARP acronym. And all I could think of in return was WTF!

My heart might have started beating faster and my blood pressure was probably sky rocketing, so it's a good thing I took my medicine this morning. I ripped it open, and wasn't even the least big careful about it.

It didn’t even start out with a “Dear Wise Friend.” It simply said,

“Dear Amy,

Welcome to the 50s Club!”

There was nothing saying,

Happy Birthday…..You are amazing.

Wow. Amy, you look beautiful today.

It just came with a membership application for twelve months. I guess at this age they renew every year and don’t offer discounts for multiple years. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the “Welcome to the “50’s Club” insulated free trunk organizer, just for being me, that was the bonus for turning 50 in 2020.

Wow. That is member benefits at its best. It is basically a wake up call that I’m now an official grown up.

Of course, for those of you young ones out there, on the enclosure it stated that you have to be 50 or older to join. So you’ll just have to get on the waiting list for this club, but keep in mind they'll find you, wherever you are.

Now how does the AARP, which simply stands for the American Association for Retired Persons know I’m turning 50. And, let’s be honest, I’m not anywhere near retiring. As a matter of fact, Mr. AARP, ”I haven’t peaked yet, I’m just getting started.” I also am curious if they begin tracking at 49, 49 1/2 or when exactly they ask the ‘ALEXA’ at AARP who in the country is turning 50.

So for us '1970 babies', I’m among good company. Take for example, the incredible, iconic, Jennifer Lopez. Did she get a letter like this with an insulated trunk organizer bonus for membership? How about Tina Fey? Turning 50.

When I think back, I can remember my mom turning 50. She was getting ready in her bedroom and I was helping her with the clasp on her bracelet. I was twelve at the time, and can remember thinking 50 was old.

Now that I’m turning 50, I wish my mom was here to celebrate with me. I have decided that if she was, she would tell me that age is irrelevant, and why count.

I have heard that the AARP sends out over 50 million pieces of mail per year and they get about 2 million annual memberships. I also have been told from my ‘older’ friends, that they are extremely persistent, so not to worry if I pass on the insulated trunk organizer, they’ll be another giveaway soon enough.

So at fifty, I still got it? I keep telling myself this as I secretly head to bed around 9pm some nights and love to chill and watch Netflix (not Netflix and chill).

I do realize that at this age some things change. I have noticed that I’m either driving a lot slower, or people are driving a lot faster. I also notice that music that is playing at restaurants is often times so loud, I just nod my head and agree with everything that’s being said at the table, because I can’t hear myself think and am not good at reading lips.

Inside the AARP mailing, instead of the membership and bonus gift, I wish there would have been a place to explain what turning 50 means to me. A little "I'd love to get to know you better" kind of thing. And you know what I'd tell them?

It's great to be 50 because I:

Trust myself and my talents a bit more.

I'm more patient with myself, and not be afraid to change course.

I embrace my imperfections.

I grant myself grace more often.


I dance a whole heck of a lot more, and don't care who's watching.

All in all, I'm over the initial shock of my mail experience that day, and I’m going to pass on the AARP membership at this point, but I applaud them for remembering my birthday. Although, I’m not going to lie to you, if the membership bonus would have been a coupon for a free ice cream cake, instead of the insulated trunk organizer they might have gotten a new member.

Bring on 50!

Written by Amy Schmidt, Fearlessly Facing Fifty

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