By Mavis Alvarez–
Next week I turn 75, making me what classic demographics classify a senior citizen. I should be worried, since I’m now knocking on the door of the life expectancy of Cuban women: 79 years. Or, to be more precise, making some quick calculations with basic arithmetic, I’m four years away from my farewell.
But I’m not worried, I’m merely reorganizing myself.
If my demographic colleagues are correct, I’m going to have to hurry with so much left for me to do and also to enjoy. This business of getting to be an old lady -as those who love us commonly call older adults in popular tongue and at home- continues to have some enjoyable peculiarities. Although to be totally truthful, I’d have to add that there are other details that are bearable but not so pleasant.
And, yes, I plan to do everything possible to prove the old age statistics wrong. I propose to keep living as long as living is worthwhile. And, for now, that’s the way it is.
I confess that I never imagined I would live so long, not even in my most optimistic moments. And like almost all of those who are born human, when I was young it seemed to me that after fifty there would be no reason to insist on continuing to occupy space on the planet.
Nevertheless, fifty arrived, then sixty passed me by and I was still around, without thinking much about it. Then one fine day, when I was almost seventy, I asked myself, “Well then, why shouldn’t I retire?” I admit that I asked myself that question when it became obvious that they no longer wanted me where I was.
So, after four and a half decades of work “outside the home”, now I stay at home. With the help of some papers from social security that classify me as a pensioner I have me the right to receive a predetermined quantity of money every month, from a predetermined place where the young girl in the payment window of the bank examines and reexamines the little numbers and letters of my payee code before handing me the sum that I am allotted.
She never looks at me. There’s a thick pane of glass between her and myself. And fifty years of difference that makes me totally insignificant and invisible although the glass is transparent and I am there on the other side.