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AARP AARP States New York About AARP

My Name is Chris...and I'm an AARP Member!


In November of this year, people 50 and older will cast their votes throughout the boroughs as they elect leaders in their communities. November also marks my 11th anniversary with AARP. My journey with AARP started in Boston, led me to Albany, and finally resulted in my arrival here in New York City – a place where the current mayor and I both root for the same baseball team, even though they’re in last place.

Throughout the journey I have heard comments like, "You’re too young to work for AARP!" At times, this good natured ribbing evolved into, "You don't understand because you are too young." Spoiler alert: I am not all that young anymore.

This year I turned 40. This means I am closer to 50 than I am to the 20-year-old I overheard on the train recently talking about going back to college. I got nostalgic remembering that that was 20 years ago for me. What happened? It seems like only yesterday I was driving back to campus listening to Pearl Jam and my Jock Jams CD.

If this story sounds familiar to you, or you understand just how classic the Jock Jams CD is, then you are probably a Gen Xer. This year was a milestone for Generation X: the first Gen Xer turned 50, which means GenXers are eligible to become AARP members. I remember one summer when I was home from college and went to dinner with my parents at a diner. I cringed when they flashed their AARP card to get the 15 percent discount off our meal.

Who would have thought that my career would take me to AARP, and that I would actually embrace the thought of becoming an AARP member? While I may have cringed at the idea of being AARP-eligible 20 years ago, today I find that the legislative issues that I advocate for and the educational programs I coordinate are incredibly relevant to me and my generation as we approach 50.

So today I celebrate the fact that, in addition to serving those who are already 50+, I get to help shape what aging should look like for my own generation. I think it’s safe to say that Gen X is going to disrupt aging, and I’m excited to be there every step of the way.

Chris Widelo is the Associate State Director for Advocacy in New York City. He's a 17-year veteran of government relations with a background in political science and dispute resolution. He's been with AARP for 11 years with their MA and NY offices.

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