Are you familiar with the phrase “Liar, liar, pants on fire?” By the time most people reach 50, their pants are almost continually engulfed in flame. It’s not that 50-year-olds mean to lie—well, not most of the time, anyway. These little white lies just have a way of slipping out with more frequency, sometimes on purpose and sometimes they’re entirely subconscious.
At least a few middle-aged people will likely object to that premise. “What are you talking about?” They may be collectively howling at their computers right about now. “I’ve never lied in my life! This is an outrage!” You could be right. But take a look at the following 50 common lies said and sometimes believed by people in their 50s, either to themselves or the rest of the world, and we’re pretty sure you’ll recognize at least a few whoppers on there that you’ve uttered out loud. And if you’re curious to know what other people are lying to you about, check out The 40 Lies Everyone Tells on a Daily Basis.
Au contraire! The best years of your life are only just beginning. According to the the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, the average life expectancy for Americans is 78.7 years. That means you got at least another 30 years—if you’re average.
And what do you plan on doing with those years? Binge-watching TV and sleeping in? Why don’t you follow in the lead of former president George H.W. Bush, who celebrated his 90th birthday by jumping out of a plane. And if you’re looking for a way to turn back the clock, Steal These Anti-Aging Secrets From America’s Fittest CEO.
What is it about turning 50 that makes people think they’ve become invisible? Not only does your opinion still matter, it’s more valuable than ever. You’ve been on this planet for half a century, and that means something. People care what you think for the same reasons Luke Skywalker cared what Obi Wan Kenobi thought—the more you experience, the more you have to teach.
There’s no more certain sign that you have entered middle-age then the inexplicable need to complain about “kids today” having it too cushy. By all accounts, the opposite is true. Studies show that kids growing up today not only have unprecedented pressure to perform, but they’re more burdened with depression than any previous generation. To learn why kids these days don’t necessarily have it the easiest, check out 27 Ways High School Has Gotten So Much More Horrifying Since You Were a Teen.
We’re rooting for you, but it might be foolhardy to put too much faith in your genetic makeup. For instance, in a recent study at the Stanford University School of Medicine, it turns out that your genes probably doesn’t have much effect on your weight. Claiming “I don’t get fat cause I have good genes” could be a recipe for disaster. And to make sure you stick around and live a long life, and check out 20 Healthy Living Rules You Should Live By.
No, it makes you look like a silver fox. Do you think anyone has ever looked at John Slattery and thought, “That dude needs a dye job?” Of course not! He’s just one of numerous examples of how going grey just might be the sexiest thing you can do.
Literally every generation thinks this is true, and they’re all wrong. Not in a personal sense—nobody’s going to tell you what sounds good to your own ears—but in a larger cultural sense, sorry, no, the music you love is probably not definitively the best.
That idiotic idiom “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is wrong on every level. In fact, research from the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas at Dallas found that learning a new skill can be done at any age, and actually results in “lasting changes to circuits in the medial frontal,” which makes your brain operate with more concentration and focus. So never stop challenging yourself! And if you’re looking to master a second tongue, steal The Secret Trick For Learning A New Language Quickly.
This isn’t to say that you aren’t amazing at your job, but too many of us, after we reach middle-age and have been in our careers for long enough, begin to think we’re indispensable. Don’t slip into complacency. Once you start to think this way, you lose the fire and competitive edge that makes any career so mentally stimulating. Also, remembering that there are plenty of people who would love (and are qualified for) your job reminds you to be grateful.
The only ones still buying into the “dad bod” trend are 50-year-old guys with dad bods who desperately want it to still be fashionable.
Marriage never stops being hard work. If you think that it doesn’t, your relationship might be heading for trouble. According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate for couples over 50 has doubled since the 1990s. Never take anything for granted, least of all your spouse. For proof, see the 40 Secrets of Couples Who’ve Been Married 40 Years.
Suuuure you did. Tales of past athletic glory—like that time you almost got drafted by a major league team, or how a talent scout from your favorite football team once checked you out—are the version of “I have a girlfriend who’s a model and she travels often and that’s why you haven’t met her” for middle-age.
They really, really don’t. It is neither “fleeky” nor “Gucci”, and it absolutely isn’t “lit”. For those and other words you shouldn’t say, see the 40 Words People Over 40 Wouldn’t Understand.
Quit trying to impress us with tales of your late night shenanigans. Everybody knows you probably fell asleep on your couch by 10:00 p.m.
It’s not that you need more sleep now that you’re older. People over 50 need as much sleep as those in their 20s and 30s, between seven and nine hours a night. But your circadian rhythm changes as you age, and your body may decide it’s time for sleep earlier than you’ve been used to.
Unless you haven’t saved a penny, there isn’t a magical amount of money you should have in savings to be ready for retirement. What do you want your retirement to look like? It’s possible your plans are more extravagant then your means.
Sure, we believe you. What other possible explanation could there be for a 50-year-old buying a Dodge Viper out of the blue?
If you’re 50 and still making vague promises like this, it’s time to stop kidding yourself. But running a marathon at your age isn’t as silly as you might think.
According to Running USA, an industry-funded research group, the number of people running (and finishing) a marathon aged 50 or older has tripled in recent years—now, it’s roughly 18 percent of total marathon participants. You absolutely can run a marathon, but the time to begin your training is today.
Everyone in their 50s has at least one widely exaggerated story about their youth that just seems to get wilder and more unbelievable with every telling. They’re good stories, but they’re also the definition of fake news.
Maybe with that attitude, but most likely they have no idea. If you haven’t been living a Keith Richards lifestyle, it’s way too paranoid to think that everyone is pointing at you and whispering about the senior who wandered out of the retirement home.
Of course you’ve done this. Everyone has done this, male and female. We’re all just raw nerve endings worried about whether our hair is falling out. Here’s some comforting news: approximately 320 million people, or 1 in 5 Americans, are losing their hair. If it happens to you, you’re by no means the only one.
No you can’t. We’re not going to lie and say medical exams are fun. They’re not even in the ballpark of fun. But at 50, if you haven’t already been getting these tests annually, you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor posthaste!
When you hear a claim like this, it’s probably only accurate 20 percent of the time. It’s because middle-aged people want to airbrush their pasts, and make sure their younger selves look as cool as possible for the public record.
Good for you if you’ve managed to control those urges. But for most of us, the occasional moment of “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” overindulgence is quite common. Mike Fenster, a cardiologist and author of The Fallacy of the Calorie, has said that it’s okay to binge “every now and again. All things in moderation, including moderation.” Just don’t make it a regular thing.
We’ll give you $20 if you can even squeeze one thigh into any of those outfits. Relax, all bodies change, and not just for the worse. It doesn’t mean that you’re packing on the pounds. Adults can have growth spurts long after they think they’ve stopped growing.
Over-imbibing as a social obligation is such a young person’s mistake. If you think any of your friends are impressed by a sloppy drunk 50-year-old, you’re either very wrong or need to get some new friends.
Do you really need us to list all the names? Here are just a few: Ronald Reagan got into politics at 55, Colonel Sanders launched KFC at 65, and Benjamin Franklin signed the Declaration of Independence when he was 70 years-old! And for more examples of people who started killing it in a second act, meet the 50 People Over 50 Who Are Shattering Stereotypes About Aging.
Not so much a lie as a brilliant avoidance technique. Here’s something that anyone paying attention should have learned by 50: Political discussions invariably lead to political arguments, and they always end badly.
Contrary to popular belief, jealousy isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s okay to be a little envious of people with younger bodies and seemingly endless prospects. But It should also make you happy, because you know the disappointment and frustrations of youth, and how much better it gets as you grow older.
And why’s that? Because you re not “on the market” anymore and you can now officially let yourself go? Let’s see what your spouse or partner has to say about that.
That’s not true and you know it. If there’s not even a small part of you that wonders what your life would’ve been like if you’d made different choices, or gone down a different path in your life, well, we don’t believe you. Wondering what “might’ve been” doesn’t automatically mean “I made the wrong choices.”
Hey, nobody’s accusing you of having an affair. We’ve all snuck a look at an ex online. A study out of Western University found that almost 90 percent of people are looking at their exes on Facebook. It’s harmless. As long as looking at his or her photos on Facebook doesn’t take up so much of your time that it turns into a second job.
It absolutely does… if it was 1983 again.
We can refute that claim in just two words: George. Clooney. He’s 57, and has never been better looking. Sure, we can’t all be Clooney handsome. But stop thinking there’s something intrinsically unappealing about being in your 50s.
If you say so. But we find that the more insistently someone claims they’ve never taken even one puff from a cigarette, the more likely it is that they’re hiding something.
I’m not crying at a Journey song that just came on the radio, you’re crying!
The older we get, the more we crave unsolicited compliments about our age. The highest compliment you can pay a 50 year-old is to request their ID when he or she is buying liquor.
There are no absolutes in aging. If you think your back is “supposed” to start hurting now, or that it’s “inevitable” that your muscles start to get weaker, you’re giving your body permission to stop behaving. Positive thinking can go a long way. And if you’re looking to strengthen your body, start with these 40 Great Exercises for Adding Muscle Over 40.
You might be right in some regards—it certainly has been a boon for bullies—but the internet has also made the world smaller and more accessible. Don’t get cranky at it just because you miss rotary phones.
You may be a thousand times more mature than you were in your teens, but you’re as susceptible as ever to groupthink. We’d all like to think we make our own decisions, but we still secretly look to our peers for cues.
If you seriously think that, then it’s a guarantee you don’t tell them nearly enough. Your family does not operate like utility bills. You’re not going to get a notice in the mail when you’re overdue.
Even as you deny it, we can almost hear the lyrics reverberating through your brain. And now the song is stuck in your head all day. Just admit it!
Listen, even Frank Sinatra admitted that he had a “few” regrets. Admitting that there are things in your past that you wish had been done differently is not a declaration of failure. It just means your 20/20 hindsight vision is functioning properly.
Not with that attitude you won’t. Deciding that you’ll never travel again is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the best way to start is by conveniently neglecting to renew your passport. It’s never too late to travel the world and visit those exotic countries you never thought you’d see in person.
That’s ridiculously untrue. If you’re talking about Ariana Grande and shows like Teen Wolf, fine, it’s not for you. But the world is filled with amazing music, TV, and movies that were made specifically for a 50-year-old demographic.
Nothing is quite as scary as being single at 50. But don’t be too quick to throw in the towel because everyone worth dating is already attached. There are eligible bachelors and bachelorettes out there, you just haven’t bumped into them yet.
There’s no shame in just wanting to be reminded that you have more than a few good years left. Besides, reading the obits can put a fire under your seat, reminding you that life is fleeting and you need to seize every day.
Wait, how long are we talking about? Too many people stop going to the dentist with regularity in their twenties, and it’s a bad habit that can really catch up with you in middle-age. Stop pretending everything is fine and make your next dental cleaning appointment right now. And for more ways to get the smile of your dreams, check out 20 Secrets for Whiter Teeth After 40.
Even we have those fantasies occasionally. It doesn’t mean your head is stuck in the clouds, it’s just that some rock n’ roll dreams never go away.
Bwahahahahahahaha! [A brief pause while we catch our breath.] Hahahahahahahahahaha! We’re sorry, you were saying?
A wallet full of maxed-out credit cards just feels too irresponsible for any self-respecting 50-year-old. Shouldn’t we have learned to be more responsible with money by now? Maybe, but it still happens to even the best of us.
A 50-year-old would rather call you “buddy” for the rest of his life than admit he doesn’t remember how he knows you. And if you want to defeat the odds and live like the youth, check out 100 Anti-Aging Secrets for Looking and Feeling Younger Than Ever.
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