Sam wonders what’s old and who’s a senior anyway?

Sitting in a deck chair beside the pool on the cruise ship, I made a comment to Susan about some of the very fit seniors running on the track on the level above the pool. The running track circled the pool and there were all manner of silver haired walkers and runners.


There are also people on this cruise younger than us, in their twenties and thirties. We are 53 (me) and almost 53 (Susan). I’m still thinking of us in the middle years, not seniors yet.

Still, Shoppers Drug Mart here in Canada starts seniors discounts at 55. I’m 54 this summer so cheaper shampoo and toothpaste is within sight. A few years ago when we were on sabbatical in Dunedin, New Zealand I was slightly alarmed to see that the seniors price at the movie theatre started at 50. I wasn’t yet eligible but it was close. Likewise, my favorite local swimming pool sets the seniors discount at 50.

Prior to this I had thought there was a hard line. When mandatory retirement was the law in Canada you worked until 65 and then retired. I thought the move was from working person to senior citizen. That never did fit everyone. Some people retired young. Others, like stay at home parents, might not have worked for pay outside the home.

Now though with the end of mandatory retirement, retirement ages are all over the map.

I remember, years ago in my bike racing days, debates about who counts and who should count as a master’s athlete. Likewise with rowing. In some sports it’s quite young, after 35 you’re a master. Other sports such as laser racing have added extra categories like grand master.

Where do you draw the line? Who is a senior citizen and who is not? Do the labels matter to you? Why/why not?

2 thoughts on “Sam wonders what’s old and who’s a senior anyway?

  1. Last yr. a Shopper’s Drug Mart employee asked me if I was a senior. I was startled because I had on sunglasses and a bike helmet in the store along with my bike jacket… apparently it was the Thurs. senior’s discount day. I said yes and got the discount for being 58 yrs.

    I wondered: now was it because she was Filipino herself and knew that some Asian descent can look slightly younger or she was told to ask most adults the question?

    I tend to think more retirement concept not ‘senior’ for self and for my closest gal friends around my age….of whom several will be taking early retirement later this year. One of them is 61 yr. and she goes on bike touring trips annually, plays tennis several times weekly, lifts weights also and is car-free, with carshare membership in Toronto for past….2 decades. More of an early trendsetter. So she doesn’t even fit the senior image in person nor in her lifestyle. How many ‘seniors’ use car share??? I’m waiting for this answer…’s now a challenge, for not the millennials and generation xxxxx…but for the 60+ who might be bitching about their budget..

  2. Sam, I have just started some major changes in my life, and the funny thing is that I will turn 50 in May. None of my other milestone birthdays seem to bother me, but a few months back, I realized I just did not like the life I was leading. I have since started my own business, resigned from the corporate job I have held for the last 8 years, and I am creating a whole new life for my wife, Kym, and I. A life where we can travel, and experience it one day at a time, instead of my working for someone else and living by their rules.
    When Kym turned 55 she was sent an application for AARP, and she was able to add me to the account since I was her spouse. I found it funny that I had an AARP card in my 40’s. Well, I am about to turn 50, and she is now 57. I, like you, do not feel like I am even close to being a senior citizen and have plans to not only create and run this business, but travel the world while doing so.
    So rock on, and keep up the great work!

Comments are closed.