Embrace Your Age and Enjoy the Discounts

illustration by brad fitzpatrick

We all grieved after the Old Man of the Mountain crashed to his demise while no one was looking in 2003. His geological time clock ran out at midnight, and the symbol of our state became a sentimental journey through Franconia Notch.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that the Old Man’s passing substantially lowered the median age of New Hampshire residents, from roughly 6,635 years old to 42. Demographers have been wringing their hands because New Hampshire’s population is aging out. The 2010 Census Bureau stats reveal that our state’s median age increased more than the other 49 from the 2000 accounting. Now I’m feeling guilty. Like the Old Man, should I leave the state to help bring the average down a bit?

I don’t get it. Florida, lovingly referred to as “God’s waiting room,” has a lower median age than New Hampshire at 41.3 years.

I’ve got news for you. At 65, I am headed to Hampton Beach with my compression Speedo and jumping on a boogie board to ride New Hampshire’s silver tsunami to senior savings on everything from coffee to dental cleanings.

It’s true. My dentist knocked 20 bucks off my recent cleaning, and it’s not because he didn’t have to polish up tooth #14, which is an implant. It’s because I am 65. The problem with senior discounts is that many people are just too vain to accept them. But not everyone.

My 60-ish buddy Scot received a golf discount without asking for one this past summer. “The person working saw my knee replacement scar and gave me the discount,” he shared. “The best part is when he said, ‘Have a great round, Mr. Clooney. Any new movies coming out?’” And I don’t think the guy confused him with Rosemary Clooney.  

I know AARP works hard on behalf of us over-50 peeps. But why did they find it necessary to start sending me membership packages when I turned 13? Maybe I don’t know AARP, but 13 is not the new 50. In fact, at Fenway Park, I was still being asked for my ID at 45. I happily thought I looked younger than I really am until I noticed the next guy, a Johnny Pesky doppelgänger, get pinched for his license when he ordered a Bud.

It’s time to embrace your aging with grace, people. Take the senior discounts. And don’t get defensive if you are offered an unsolicited discount. My 48-year-old friend Matt told me he always gets asked if his 2-year-old daughter is his granddaughter. The second time it happened at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Concord, he shot back, “Do I LOOK like I should get a discount?”

Big ad agencies that buy advertising on behalf of their clients love the 18-34 age range, often blowing off the over-54 demographic. Hello, Madison Avenue. Your precious millennials are buried in $200,000 student loan debt while my baby boomer buddies aren’t. Now who’s got the cash for your fancy German cars?

At least a few other states are ahead of us age-wise. Maine and Vermont have median ages of 43.5 and 42.3, respectively.

Maybe they’re just waiting for one of their iconic granite cliffs to bite the dust. In the meantime, let’s not panic by renaming our state New Grampshire.

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