Making it to 50 can feel simultaneously like a victory and a defeat. On the one hand, you’ve been alive for half a century! You’re old enough to be filled with wisdom and life experience, but not so old that you feel like an antique. At the same time, there are days when you feel your age. Maybe not physically, but at least culturally. The world doesn’t seem to revolve around you like it once did back in your younger years.
Everything from your fashion choices to your home decor options now feel a little more limited. You can’t get away with anything you want anymore, because a 50-year-old is held to a different standard. And it’s not a bad thing actually. Now, more than ever, the world expects you to be an adult. Here are 50 things that a guy over 50 years old should think about retiring from his life, if he hasn’t already. And for ways to not accidentally stock your life with more stuff you truly don’t need, see the 40 Things No One Over 40 Should Ever Buy.
If you’re over 50, you were probably bewitched by that Back to the Future sequel where Michael J. Fox evades capture on a futuristic hoverboard. Well, get over it. Modern hoverboards are dangerous and stupid and you look like a buffoon while trying to balance on one.
If you haven’t reached the point in your career yet where you can afford both a bed and a couch, you probably have bigger problems then whether you consider a futon and acceptable choice and furniture. But consider this your canary in a coal mine. Owning a futon after 50 is a huge warning sign that you may have made some miscalculations in your life path. And for more ways to modernize your house, learn the 30 Ways Your Home Is Hopelessly Outdated.
Anything that gets affixed to your wall with scotch tape never deserved to be there in the first place. Put it in a frame, or leave it in the box with your other college dorm room décor.
It’s the piece of gym equipment that everybody hates, and with good reason. Buying one and putting it in your home is just showing off, and not in a good way. It’s telling the world, “I care enough about my health to buy an expensive piece of exercise equipment I’ll never use and is probably just used to hang laundry.” If you want to exercise, get out of the house by mastering the 11 Ways Smart People Motivate Themselves to Go to the Gym.
Underwear with a funky design or portrait of your favorite fictional or real person.
Your underwear has one job, and that one job is not to announce to the world (or, uh, whoever happens to see your underwear) how much you love Spider-Man.
A mini fridge.
We’re sure more than a few will quibble with this, but a fully grown adult male with a mini fridge is like a grown-up mowing the lawn with one of those little plastic toy mowers. You can and should upgrade to a full size refrigerator. If the only food you need can be stored easily inside a mini fridge, then maybe it’s time to spend more money at grocery stores and less at the pantry aisle at your local gas station.
A frat sweatshirt.
There’s nothing intrinsically wrong about being in a fraternity in college. But there is something a little weird about a 50-year-old still celebrating his frat experience three decades after the fact. At this point, hopefully you’ve made another group of friends that maybe don’t have so many secret handshakes and keg parties.
Oh boy, where to begin? You want to grow a mustache after 50? That’s fine, even commendable. Facial hair is every man’s right. But having Salvador Dali delusions at your age is not helping your credibility as an adult. Just let your stash do what it wants to do; don’t try to manipulate it into clever shapes.
Tickets to Lollapalooza.
Planning on going this year? So you enjoy standing in mud for hours and paying $15 for a beer and then waiting two hours in an excruciating bathroom line? Come on, just admit it, you don’t want to be there. You want to be home, listening to your music on a record player in comfortable pants and a bathroom with a toilet that flushes.
More than two social media accounts.
Keeping a social media presence is a lot of responsibility. And not many people over 50 have the wherewithal to juggle more than a few. If you’re on Facebook and Instagram already, that’s plenty. You probably don’t also need to have a Twitter handle. And don’t even think about LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Snapchat, Tumblr, et cetera, et cetera. You’re not impressing anybody by spreading yourself so thin online.
A t-shirt with profanity on it.
You know who gets an endorphin rush from saying a naughty word, or even just displaying one on their chest, because they think it’ll make adults upset? Teenagers, that’s who. And not even particularly bright teenagers.
A wristwatch that looks like it was a prize at the bottom of a cereal box.
We’re not suggesting that you spend a fortune on a watch. We’re just saying, at this point in your life, you deserve a watch like your dad used to wear, a high-end timepiece with a clean, modern design. Not a watch whose band falls apart every time you so much as flex your wrist.
Jeans that don’t quite fit.
Whether you’re waiting to lose “just a few more” pounds so you can squeeze into them or you like the way the jeans uh, make you look, these pants are unbecoming on a man your age. You’re embarrassing everybody, especially your 50-year-old thighs.
A tattoo with the name of an ex.
We all make mistakes, but mistakes can be fixed, even if they’re inked into your skin. Any reasonably intelligent 50-year-old is capable of finding a tattoo artist able to cover up “Sheila 4-Ever!” For coverup ideas, check out the 100 Amazing Tattoos for First-Timers.
It’s not just that they’re the ugliest shoes that humankind has ever created, or that they give your feet a polka-dot tan. It’s that Crocs are hurting your feet, according to podiatrists. The open back and loose strap can wreak havoc on your heel and shank. And you know what will start to break down after 50 if you don’t take care of them? That’s right, your feet!
A laundry service that rhymes with “Other”.
Yes, we’re talking about your mother. If you’ve survived on this planet for over half a century, you should possess the necessary skills to wash, dry, and fold your own Spider-Man underpants. To boost your washing-and-drying game, learn the 20 Ways to Do Laundry in Your Freezer.
High school trophies.
You know who cares that you were a soccer champ in high school, or that you led your debate team to victory with your thoughtful analysis of ’80s-era Cold War relations? Literally nobody. Putting those trophies on display, where any visitor can easily see them, is the dictionary definition of self-indulgent.
It’s the laziest fashion accessory, the thing young guys turn to because they think it makes them look old school and debonair, like somebody who says “m’lady” a lot and knows how to swing dance and maybe is friends with Justin Timberlake. Nobody buys it when a young guy wears it, and they’re definitely not buying it when an old guy does.
A virtual reality headset.
It’s not that you’re too old for new technology, but you’re just not going to be satisfied with where VR tech is at. It’s a weird thing that nobody in their twenties really understands. Fifty year-olds can still remember a time when virtual reality was “just around the corner.” Twenty years later it’s… okay, we guess. Maybe it’s more impressive to people who are just learning about virtual reality, but when you’re 50 and you’ve been anticipating it for a long, long time, it’s hard not to be underwhelmed.
A drum kit.
You know what nobody has ever said at any dinner party hosted by a 50-year-old in the history of social interactions? “Hey, anybody here know how to play the drum solo from ‘Tom Sawyer’?”
A man bun.
No. You know why. C’mon, have you not seen your reflection in a mirror? Cut it out! (Literally.) If you really want your ‘do to make you look younger, take a look at the 15 Best Men’s Haircuts for Looking A Decade Younger.
Any book whose premise is how to “score” with “chicks.”
It’s arguable than ever owning dating tomes by Neil Strauss or Tucker Max was always a terrible idea. But if you’re 50 and you’ve got one of their books on your shelf, it’s sending a signal to the world that you’re determined to die alone and unloved.
Manuals for appliances and electronics.
Young guys cling to their electronics manuals with white knuckles, terrified that they’ll need them if something goes wrong with their TV or computer. But by 50, you realize that those manuals are pretty much useless after awhile. If you don’t know where the on-off switch is by now, you never will.
Spoiler alert: Nobody is trying to steal your wallet. Or at least nobody is being deterred from stealing your wallet because there’s a gigantic chain hanging from your front pocket. That isn’t intimidating to pickpockets. It’s intimidating to anybody who doesn’t want to be cornered by you at a social function so that you can explain how you went to CBGB’s once and the underground music scene just isn’t as cool as it was when you first started wearing wallet chains as a fashion accessory.
A collection of funky shot glasses.
Listen, we understand, we like the occasional sip of hard alcohol, too. But we’re not doing enough shots to necessitate their own home glassware. And we certainly don’t need to shoot Jagerbombs in a tiny glass with Nebraska’s state motto written on the side.
A best bud who’s “going through a rough patch.”
Oh, okay, is that why he’s living on your couch for a few months, eats everything in your fridge, and seems in no way interested in finding a real job? Seems like a top-notch fella.
A single earring.
“But Michael Jordan wore one!” some of you will protest. Fine, go become a basketball legend and we’ll let this one slide. Otherwise, you just look like the 50-year-old bass player in an unsigned punk band that still plays to dozens of people every Wednesday night at the pool hall.
A pantry overflowing with junk food.
You can blame your kids for all the Oreos and chocolate bars and tortilla chips and bags of Hershey’s Kisses clogging the shelves of your pantry, but let’s get serious. You’re the one doing the grocery shopping. If you don’t want all that junk in there, you just don’t have to buy it. If you’re 50 and you have at least one box of Cap’n Crunch within easy reach, you have no one to blame but yourself.
More than a few selfies on your phone.
Stop it. You don’t need more pictures of yourself posing in front of nothing in particular. You’re not an insecure 21-year-old kid anymore, unconvinced of his old self worth. You’ve been on this Earth long enough to know that endless selfies are not the path to self-acceptance.
Corduroy jackets with suede patches on the elbows.
This is something dumb guys in their 20s wear because they think it makes them look like 50-year-old intellectuals. It doesn’t. Don’t be a 50 year old dressing like an idiot 20-year-old trying to look like a 50 year old you.
A favorite member of the Jersey Shore cast.
Yes, we know there’s a reunion show. We didn’t watch it, because we’re adult human beings who don’t think morons with too much hairspray make for especially captivating television viewing. Nobody cares if you think JWoww is way more emotionally complex than The Situation. Try reading a book.
More than one gaming console.
If you’ve got a Sony PlayStation, you don’t also need a Nintendo Switch and a Microsoft Xbox. Pick your poison. A 50-year-old in a house full of video game consoles who can’t claim at least one of them belongs to a child is someone who can easily count all of his friends on one hand.
A beanbag chair.
You don’t actually think these are comfortable, do you? It’s like sitting in a bag filled with mayonnaise. There’s nothing kitsch or throwback about them. A guy who owns a bean bag chair is also a guy who thinks a waterbed is a good idea. Don’t be that guy.
An embarrassing Google search history.
If your mom can get on your computer right now and take a look at your internet search history without blushing, you’re good. If not, you need to seriously rethink what you’re doing online. You’re 50 years old, for God’s sake—don’t click on those sites!
Strong opinions about modern music.
We don’t mean to say that your thoughts about the state of modern rock or pop music aren’t relevant anymore, but… they kind of aren’t. We can probably already guess what you’re going to say. Music today is too loud, too weird, not melodic enough, not as authentic or rocking or real as it was in your youth, or just sounds like a bunch of shouting to you? It’s okay, you’re certainly allowed to have those opinions. Just maybe don’t share them with the rest of the world.
A tool chest that’s mostly just free Allen wrenches from DIY furniture.
Those tiny wrenches that come with furniture you’re supposed to put together yourself are good for nothing else ever again. Do yourself a favor and throw them away. Your tool chest should be stocked with actual tools, like wrenches and hammers and other instruments of civilization.
A Tinder account.
Remember when dating involved more brain effort than swiping left or right? Of course you do. You’re 50! You remember it all too well. Stop being so lazy. There are better ways to meet potential dates. You know how to do this. Maybe start with putting down your phone and walking out your front door.
Old t-shirts that look like they were attacked by piranhas
If people take one look at your shirt and say, “Oh my gosh, are you okay? What happened? Do you want me to call the police?” That may be an indication that your favorite t-shirt is a little too tattered and full of holes to be worn outside in public anymore.
Leaving around stacks of mail you just haven’t gotten around to opening—because maybe they’re bills or maybe it’s just junk mail—is not behavior a man of your age should still be indulging in. Take the few seconds to see what’s in those envelopes, like a grown-up.
The fact that Justin Bieber wears one should be all the evidence you need.
Your old CD collection.
We know it’s hard to let go. Back when CDs was a dominant audio format, our shelves were lined with our favorite CDs. But we live in a digital age now, and all of your favorite music doesn’t live on little silver discs anymore. Showcasing your CDs makes you look like a technology dinosaur.
If you can’t manage to keep a real plant alive by the time you’re 50—which, come on, involves nothing more than a thrice weekly watering—you shouldn’t be allowed to own a plastic version. It’s not like if you can’t keep a dog alive, they let you adopt a blow-up version instead.
A bed that never gets made.
It was fine if your blanket and sheets were always left in a crumpled-up ball when you were younger. That’s what kids and teens are supposed to do. Even young adults can get away with it occasionally. But by 50, you can take the extra five minutes to make your bed every morning.
Just one nice suit.
It’s cute when a kid just has one fancy suit that he wears for church or other formal occasions. It’s not so cute on a 50-year-old.
If you need reminding, listen to that Frank Sinatra song again. The Chairman of the Board was 54 when he recorded “My Way,” and it contains a lot of truisms for anyone over 50, especially if you lived your life well. Sure, you’ll have some regrets. But then again, too few to mention. For ideas on what to keep an eye out for, check out the 50 Most Common Regrets People Have in Their 50s.
A car once owned by your parents.
No, you’re not being retro by driving your dad’s ’87 Subaru. You’re either too cheap or too poor to buy a ride that says, “I’m 50 and I have a non-embarrassing line of credit.”
A piece of furniture here or there is okay, but if the majority of your furnishings came from the Swedish company, you look like a 50-year-old who still hasn’t graduated from college.
A sickening online comment trail.
If you’ve written it online about a stranger and it would mortify your mom if she ever read it, maybe it’s something that never needed to be written at all. Just sayin’.
Pajama bottoms that are worn outside.
It seemed so arty in your twenties to wear pajama bottoms as outdoor clothes. But now that you’re 50, you look like you’re ready to give up and spend your twilight years at a retirement home.
Maxed out credit cards.
Come on. It’s time to do something about that.
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