I recently had a birthday. It was one of those milestone events. I am now middle-aged.
Before the celebrations even died down, I received a most unexpected invitation from AARP (ostensibly, the American Association of Retired Persons — but their website doesn’t confirm that). Someone must have told them that I turned 50 and now they want me to join. Imagine that! Me, hobnobbing with retirees! This really irks me — on multiple levels.
Firstly, although I understand it is quite easy to buy and append personal information to a prospect’s name, especially things like age and address, I object to it being done to me. I know, “everyone does it,” but that doesn’t make it right. The only people who should know it’s my birthday are my family and everyone who reads this blog (which, incidentally, includes most of my family).
Secondly, having just entered the realm of middle-agedness, I am a long way from retiring. Even if I desired to retire at 65, which I don’t, I have another fifteen years in front of me. But AARP wants to pull me into premature retirement. I have too many things to do to retire. The only reason I would ever retire is if I can’t do anything else.
Lastly, by having 50 year-olds join, AARP expands their membership, thereby pretending to represent a larger group of retirees than they actually do. This also serves to give anecdotal evidence of an inflated retiree populace. It would be much like me starting an organization for teenagers and then redefining a teenager to be anyone between the ages of 10 and 25. How ludicrous!
Anyway, if you’re the one who told AARP that I turned 50, please let them know I’m not interested — but they can check back when I turn 100.
Wordsmith Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media.