The number 55 may conjure up thoughts of control and restrictions. A majority of state highways have the speed limit set at 55. Studies over the years determined a reduction in fatal accidents after the highways reduced speed limits — from 65 & 60 down to 55.
My own state has a “Stay Alive – Drive 55” campaign to promote responsible driving, accident reduction and knowledge of traffic laws. Citizens who want to reduce their auto insurance rates can participate in driver education courses about driving more defensively. The course is available to drivers age 55 and over.
Drivers push the limits on the highways in a cat and mouse style game with law enforcement using the “everybody does it” expression to justify speeding. I survived over 20 years with a person who used a radar detector to thwart authorities so he could drive anyway he chose — even at 140 mph — with ME in the car. It was not exciting. It was not acceptable. It was designed to show control and terrify me. “I’m a good driver” wasn’t acceptable in response to my “Don’t drive like that with me in the car!”
The paralegal who works in the law office that handled my divorce said I was the first person who cracked through the radar detector of control. She was exceptionally perceptive in her analysis. When someone has been as persistent and convincing through manipulation as a con-X — law enforcement and the legal system fail to recognize the pattern of abuse. Until this year. . .
Anyone who is a survivor knows, physical wounds can be easier to heal than mental or financial abuse. There has been an awareness of bullying in schools and communities, yet that information and knowledge lags far behind in a domestic relationship where an abuser is allowed to control through a license from the court.
55 is also the official age to be labeled a senior citizen. Sure, when I was age 19, 30 seemed far off. When I “reached” age 30, 40 seemed probable. Then I “became” 40 — and 50 was likely. This year I “turned” 55. I celebrated — ALL day on my Birthday AND throughout the weekend.
I’m SO happy and relieved to be 55.
My future is uncertain at this moment, yet It IS certainly GREAT in comparison to living with abuse. My father (d. 2009) , known as “Mr. Safety” asked me throughout my life: “Do you have enough money to live on?”
“I secured my safety first, dad.” “I apologize for the money that was robbed from you and me”, I said when visiting his gravesite recently. Now in the next few months, I expect that my financial future will be secured as well. Not through revenge, greed or manipulative means, but through financial facts. This year is the beginning of a new life for me and that gives me hope for the brightest future ever.
55 and Alive to THRIVE.
More about being a “senior” in my next post . . .