Help! I just turned into a senior citizen

I don’t care what the government says; I’m just getting started. From MNN, November 12, 2017, my 65th birthday

I’m too old for cycling in the rain. (Photo: Lloyd Alter)

I was in Sienna, Italy, five years ago on Nov. 12 when I celebrated my 60th birthday. Even though I was on vacation, I had to join an “all hands” conference call to learn that the website I worked for,, was now part of the Mother Nature Network. This was a shock, but it turned out to be a great birthday present. I’ve been contributing to ever since, primarily as a way of scratching my itch to write about how technology is changing the way we live, and how the baby boomer generation is adapting to it. So it’s a very happy fifth anniversary.

Today, Nov. 12, 2017, is also my 65th birthday and according to my government (I live in Toronto, Canada) I’m now a senior citizen. There are benefits — a few discounts, but nothing like they do in the U.K. where transit and museums are totally free. Being in Ontario, my health care has been free for decades, but now prescription drugs are as well. I even get a little pension! But what is a senior citizen exactly? According to a study, A Portrait of Seniors in Canada: 

There are ongoing debates about the definition of “senior.” According to the Oxford Canadian Dictionary, a senior citizen is “an elderly person, especially a person over 65”. And an elderly is, according to the same reference source, “rather old; past middle age.”

The authors of the study, written a decade ago, note that “as the first Baby Boomers turn 65 years old, it is possible that a new definition of ‘senior’ will replace the current one.” I certainly hope so; I don’t feel particularly elderly, and ran 6.9 km (4.2 miles) to get my hair cut before my birthday dinner (although I was slow, 7 minutes per km) just to prove it to myself.

I wore my new spiky short hair to dinner with my friends last night, all of us about the same age. Some are building hotels around the world; another is consulting to nonprofits. It’s true that they are not all in the best of health, and that there’s a huge spectrum among people my age when it comes to who can ride their bikes across Sweden or run for miles, and who has trouble walking to the corner because of arthritis or strokes.

But they are all contributing. They are all out there, still changing our city and some of them, our world. They, like me, would say that we are not slowing down, we’re just getting started.

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