I had another life event this week, so run up the blue pennant.
I filed for my Social Security retirement.
This was a week ago, and I was both looking forward to filing my claim and dreading it.
I was looking forward to it because it means I finally cash in on nearly 50 years of paycheck deductions. I was dreading it because it meant I had to actually go to the SSA office to get the paperwork rolling.
I know, I know. I could have done this whole process online.
But when I called the local office last week to let them know I turn 66 next month, they suggested I come in for my interview rather than file online. I actually thought it was a good idea because I wanted a real person in front of me to answer any questions I might have.
Plus, I like to be taken by the hand when I walk through the unknown and unfamiliar territory.
So Kim and I took the day off and went to the SSA office in Salisbury.
We took the day off because I'd heard the horror stories of long lines of people waiting to file their claims, and I was preparing myself for hours of bending my patience. Indeed, when I made my phone call to set up the appointment, I was on hold for nearly 20 minutes of bad music before I finally heard a human voice. It was not a good omen.
My fears were confirmed when we walked through the door. Immediately, you walk into a waiting area that has about 50 chairs lined up in rows like in a movie theater. They were nearly all filled. There was a beefy guy standing in the corner, in a uniform, wearing a badge, with his arms crossed. Uh oh. You take a number, then you take a seat, and then you wait.
But then magic happened. Within 10 minutes, my number was called. Kim and I went to our interview cubicle where, instead of a government bureaucrat, we spoke with a pleasant professional. The first thing she told us was that she was going to ask us a series of questions, and we'd better answer truthfully or else we were liable for imprisonment.
That was a little unnerving. And curious. The only ID I needed for my fraud wall was my Social Security number, which I assumed hasn't been hacked by the Russians just yet. As far as I know.
Anyway, the interview process lasted about 15 minutes. It was, all in all, painless.
I felt like I'd crossed a threshold. My first check goes into direct deposit in March.
I'm officially old.