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More Than a Bargain: The Happening Called Life@50+

Posted on 09/27/2011 by | The Ultimate Cheapskate | Comments

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I hadn’t even heard the word in 30+ years. But I found myself using it time and again as I chatted with other others about the experience we were all sharing.

It wasn’t a “convention,” “conference,” or “meeting.” And it wasn’t an “expo,” even though that’s what the event banners plastered all over the city called it.

No, it was—with all due love and respect for the 60s—a “happening.”

And it was also one of biggest bargains I’ve ever scored. I’m referring to the Life@50+ Expo Happening this month in Los Angeles.

For a mere $25 registration fee, here’s a taste of how I spent the three days: 

  • Working-out with Richard Simmons (he’s a hoot!)
  • Attending the LA premiere of the movie “The Way”, where I and hundreds of other fans got to shake hands with Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez – and gawk at Charlie Sheen – on the red carpet.
  • Wiping away a few tears while listening to Martina Navartilova talk about her winning match against cancer.
  • Attending fascinating talks on everything from world travel, to understanding Medicare, to having great sex.

And then there was the schwag—tons of free promotional items given away by hundreds of Expo exhibitors. Suffice it to say, my Christmas shopping is now done, all for FREE.

But most of all, a happening is when like-minded people come together, just to enjoy each other’s company.

Looking like large puppies enjoying a tummy rub, my wife and I lay on our backs test driving massage chairs at an exhibit booth. After all, collecting that much schwag is tiring. Eventually I mustered enough energy to turn my head and nod to the equally relaxed couple in the chairs next to us.

Laurie and Brian Walsh of Peoria, Arizona, are the kind of kindred spirits that make Life@50+ a true happening. “It’s all about vitality and living the good life. It has everything we’re interested in,” Brian told me. “Great entertainment and sessions on travel, health, food, fitness, finances, volunteer opportunities. ”

Laurie—who just happens to be a member of the online AARP Savings Challenge group I host—was quick to chime in about what a bargain it is.

“We figured it out. It’s costing us less than $50 a piece for the three days, total,” she said proudly.

The Walshes, who retired a year ago while still in their mid-fifties, used credit card reward points to cover their hotel and other expenses. And with the free food and wine samples in the exhibit hall—and an occasional PB&J sandwich back at their hotel room— the cost of meals was minimal. Life is good, particularly when it’s simple.

I’ve always regretted that I was a too young to attend Woodstock. But at least now I’m not too young to be part of the happening called Life@50+.

Want to experience Life@50+ for yourself? Next year’s event is slated for Sept. 20 -22 in New Orleans.

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