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May 16, 2016

50 thoughts on turning 50 (and aging, and life, in general)

I was born on May 16, 1966, which means today is my birthday, and I am 50 years old.

That's a long time, especially for someone who's never experienced it before. More than enough to form some fairly deep-seated ideas and opinions.

Here are 50 of mine:

  1. Don't tell me that "50 is the new 30" (or "the new 40" or "the new 20" or whatever). By doing so you are implying that an age, any age, has to suggest an earlier one in order to seem palatable. For me, 50 is the new 50. Because it's completely new to me.

  2. I'm not "50 years young," either. I'm 50 years OLD. I don't know why "old" has to be a bad word. If we can love old houses and old cars, then we can love old people; beginning with ourselves.

  3. Cosmetic surgery, Botox, fillers, etc...  look weird. If you've reached a certain age and you don't have wrinkles, that is what looks weird to me. There is nothing natural about not aging.

  4. Upon hearing my views, people have come at with me with, "Well, if Botox or surgery make you feel good about yourself, then what's the harm?" Okay, here's the harm: It continues sending the message to the world that aging is a bad thing.

  5. Sorry, guys; dyed hair just doesn't work on men. Ever. It clashes with the tone and shade of (rightfully) aging skin. Yes, there's a double-standard, in that women can get away with coloring their hair, but men simply cannot. It always looks desperate.

  6. Why are you complaining that you got an AARP card application in the mail? Would you rather be dead? Dead without discounts?

  7. There's a beautiful sobriety in "acting one's age." Frankly, I find the ones who keep dancing on tabletops and showing off their "I've still got it!" moves irritating to be around.

  8. "Abercrombie & Fitch." Unnecessary at any age; painful after 30.

  9. I have no plans to give up gluten, meat or processed sugar at this time. Stop telling me to.

  10. I cannot, and will not, compliment a photo that has been photoshopped or somehow "tuned" to make the subject appear younger. Unless it's a painting, a portrait should look exactly like you.

  11. Get real. A (female) friend once used the "a lady never reveals her age" argument on me, and I really wished I was a woman just at that exact moment so I could reply with "a real woman doesn't have a problem with it" with the right amount of gravity. And I believe a real man doesn't, either. Any real person. Of any gender. Stop dressing up self-loathing as "etiquette." (And yes, as per my friend's admonishment, I 'don't know what it's like to be an aging woman in society.' But I do know this: aging gay men don't have it that easy, either. So I hear ya, sister.)

  12. Age isn't "just a number." If that were true, why does everything hurt? Give age its proper respect. Those years didn't just happen on a scoreboard. They happened to your body, your soul, your life.

  13. Music really was better when I was a kid.

  14. If you haven't experienced true love by now, that means you weren't meant to. But that can change, at any moment.

  15. I did drugs. So I get it. But I don't do them anymore, and I don't want to waste any more time being around them and their influence. So if you're high on anything, for "recreational" purposes (or, give me a break, weak-ass "it's-medicinal-I-have-anxiety" reasons), stay away. You don't need my company, and I don't need yours.

  16. The chances of my becoming a rock star have lessened considerably since I was fourteen. The tradeoff is, I have really great friends.

  17. But I still want to meet Deborah Harry.

  18. "Nice" wins. Nice wins over beauty, over money, over power. At the end of the day, I'd rather be around people who are nice over anything else.

  19. Eighty percent of the people pissing you off aren't doing it on purpose. So don't dwell on that. But the other 20 percent, yeah, they're awful. More on that later.

  20. You know what "sexy" is? Calm, polite confidence. That is sexy. Does it help to be physically attractive? Sure. But calm, polite confidence instantly raises anyone's sexiness level.

  21. I will never be happy with my body. But that doesn't mean I hate it.

  22. I have been rejected by some of the finest men in Los Angeles. But ultimately, I was accepted by the finest man in my universe. So. There's a lesson in there.

  23. Sweatpants are not clothing. They're exercise wear. Same for "yoga pants." I don't care how good you look in them.

  24. And unless you're Tina Turner, you can't wear a miniskirt past the age of 35.

  25. This overlaps with other stuff on this list, but I love grey hair. Grey hair and wrinkles and truly expressive faces... that is the beauty of real living.

  26. Some of my parts don't work like they used to, which has forced me to be resourceful and/or chemically assisted in certain areas. Fortunately, I don't need those parts as often as I did when I was younger.

  27. It's nice to look nice. I love seeing people dressed nicely when they're grocery shopping.

  28. Wash your goddamned car. Would you go out in public wearing dirty clothes? No. So why would you parade around in a dirty car? Be a grownup. Wash your goddamned car.

  29. I finally found God when I looked into my behavior. Not when I looked into a church.

  30. Take a cue from Pat Benatar. Stop using sex as a weapon.

  31. The only "Avengers" I care to acknowledge are Emma Peel and John Steed.

  32. I know, I know... you shouldn't judge people "unless you've walked a mile in their shoes" blah blah blah but you know what? At the end of the day, some people are just awful. They are awful and you have every right to avoid them.

  33. Learn to use a goddamned computer. And a smartphone. In the words of Bobcat Goldthwait, "This is how we do things now."

  34. See a doctor. At the very least, know how your body is doing. Then make your mind up as to how you're going to treat it.

  35. it's = it is; its = possessive

  36. Reading glasses are the greatest invention ever.

  37. Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee. If they say they do, they're lying.

  38. I would rather be at a coffee shop having a patty melt with friends than partying at any fancy nightclub in the world.

  39. Monogamy is a construct. There, I said it.

  40. True love requires being able to be happy for someone about things that have nothing to do with you.

  41. Wear clothes that fit. Doesn't matter what size you are, just make sure your clothes fit.

  42. A colonoscopy is the opposite of capital punishment. You get the meal you want after it happens.

  43. Don't freak out over being called "Sir" or "Ma'am" by someone younger. It was most likely meant to be respectful, and if you think you're still "young," you're most likely not.

  44. Oh, and by the way, you do look your age. Because whatever age you are, that's what you look like. And there's nothing wrong with that.

  45. In fact, I don't know how to respond when I do things like get a haircut or shave off my facial hair and people say, "Oh, you look XX years younger." I suppose that's a compliment, but I don't see "younger" as "better."

  46. Bring everything you can to the table. Including, when appropriate, your silence.

  47. If you say you "could care less," you're completely stepping all over your own point. That means you actually do care. The expression is "couldn't care less."

  48. There are a lot of great Woody Allen movies, but his three key works are: Annie Hall, Manhattan and Hannah and Her Sisters.

  49. Don't tell long stories unless you are at an actual podium and being paid and/or expected to do so. After a certain duration, every story ceases to be interesting, as well as every storyteller.

  50. Youth and aging are both temporary. Treasure each while you still can.

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