Let’s face it: A big part of getting older—and making the most of your middle-age years—is accepting the fact that there are a few things that you should stop doing. Just as you should curb your alcohol consumption and lead a less sedentary life into your 40s, you should also cut out certain lifestyle behaviors that are way beneath you, as well.
That means no more kicking back to your favorite cartoons, no more living out of a van while you follow Phish from town to town, and—we hope this goes without saying—no more calling your significant other “bae.” For those—and more on the rules of living your most dignified decade to its fullest—read on. But don’t think for a minute these dos and don’ts make life after 40 a drag. On the contrary, here are 40 Reasons Why Your 40s Are Your Best Decade of Your Life.
Wear a baseball hat backwards
Unless you are scooting under your car to change the oil or donning a catcher’s mask, you should never, ever, turn your baseball cap backwards. At best you’ll look like a little kid, at worst you’ll look like an older guy trying to look like a kid. (And if you’re wearing a ball cap at all, remember: You should take it off when you go indoors.) Guys: For more advice on aging gracefully, be sure to peruse the 40 Items No Man Over 40 Should Have in His Home.
Drink wine coolers
We’d advise drinkers of any age to avoid these sugary bottles. But if you’re over 40, you’re definitely ready to be drinking your wine and your fruit juice in separate containers. And to learn how to make the greatest drink on the planet, here’s The Single Best Way to Make a Martini.
Engage in hardcore PDA
There are dignified ways to show your love in public. Try touching, holding hands, brushing hair aside, locking eyes, or buying flowers. But trust us: If you’re old enough to have children in high school, no one will want to watch you make out. Instead, wow your partner with one of the 50 Relationship Quotes to Reignite Your Love.
The same could be said about partying in a fraternity or sorority house and binge-drinking until sick. You’re better than this. Besides, in the age of YouTube, your children will never, ever, forgive you. And for more things to leave in the rearview mirror of life, check out the 40 Things No One Over 40 Should Ever Buy.
Sleep in on a workday
When you just venture into the working world, it took some time to adjust to the new schedule and the need to stop getting sloshed every night in college, so a few late days were acceptable. But c’mon: Get your eight hours, and get them before work. And to get better shut-eye in your 40s, check out these 40 Ways to Sleep Better in Your 40s.
Wear bras that don’t fit
If you are hitting middle age and still wearing a bra that makes your breasts bulge out and digs into your shoulders, it’s time to find a professional and get fit correctly. Most department stores or specialty shops have someone who can help, so seek help now.
Wear a really cheap watch
Inexpensive digital watches are coming back into style, but do yourself a favor and own at least one nice watch. It doesn’t have to be an Omega Seamaster or a Rolex, but you need something stylish to wear with a dress or suit—and to flash in job interviews. If you’re looking for some great suggestions, consider these 8 Stylish Go-Anywhere Watches.
Drive a highly modified car
Cars are cool and cars are fun—especially fast ones. But if you’re feeling the need for speed, buy a nice and quick car that comes that way from the factory—such as these Best New Cars for 2018. At the end of the day, if you’re tooling around town in modified muscle car ripping burn-outs, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that you’re not Vin Diesel.
Play in a ball pit
Yeah, we know, sometimes you just have to give in to the inner urge to act like a kid again and that’s fine. But never, ever jump into the ball pit at your local Chuck E. Cheese or McDonald’s Play Place. For one, it’s kind of creepy, especially if there are kids in the pit. Also, you know they pee in those, right? It’s true. And for some feel-good tips on getting older, check out these 10 Ways to Feel Better About Your Body After 40.
Wear sandals away from any body of water (if you’re a man)
Especially if you live in a big city with public transportation, where literally no one wants to see your sooty feet. If you’re dying to go sock-less, that’s fine—just slide on one of these amazing slip-on shoes.
Flaking on times and dates can be overlooked when you are younger. But you’re in middle age now, and part of being a responsible adult is abiding by a civilized level of punctuality. If you need help in this department, read up on the 15 Easy Hacks That Will Make You On Time (All the Time).
First things first: We’re totally into dating apps. We think they’re a marvelous invention and a wonderful way to meet people you’d have otherwise never met. (Assuming you’re trying to date in earnest, and not just trying to hook up.)
But if you’re over 40, we’d advise you to avoid Tinder like the plague. After all, it’s a young person’s space—period—and you should respect it as such. Trust us: You don’t want your profile popping up in these young peoples’ feeds. If you have children, they will be severely embarrassed. Instead, try the Best Dating Apps If You’re Over 40.
Yeah, getting a bad sunburn was kind of funny at Daytona Beach in ’96 after you passed out from too many Bud Lights, but you’re older now and your skin needs care. To avoid early wrinkles and emerging crow’s feet, be sure to slather on a little SPF 30 sunscreen every morning, no matter the weather. After all, it’s one of the 40 Life Changes You Should Make After 40.
Ride a Segway
Blow off anniversaries
It’s easy to get complacent about your relationship as the pages of the calendar continue to peel off into the wind. But if you want your relationship to go the distance, you need to routinely do something special for your partner. Make dinner, a card, or a deliver a few compliments (at the very least). Even if he or she is all, “You don’t need to get me anything!,” you should definitely get them something. And for more relationship advice, here are 40 Relationship Tips That Are Actually Terrible.
Live in a van
When you are in your 20s and 30s, it may have been cool to do this—especially if you’re the rock-climbing type—but it’s time to sell the old rig.
Procrastinate major life goals
If you’re dying to write that book, guess what? Now’s the time. If you’re dying to switch careers, guess what? Now’s the time. And if you’re dying to divorce, move towns, or uproot your life in any way, guess what? Now’s the time!
Get a roommate
There’s one exception: If you live in a house in which you’ve carved off a separate apartment for renters. In that case, it’s a really strong financial move. And for more smart money moves, here are the 20 Purchases That Are Always Worth the Money.
OK, so watching the occasional animated comedy show made for adults is acceptable, but you shouldn’t make it must-see TV. And for good measure, we’d also advise you to not pepper your work conversations with references to Family Guy. Do you think your boss watches Family Guy? Exactly.
Ride a scooter
OK, so they are convenient and pack up small and are great for commuting short distances, but really? If you are over the age of 12, you should really never step foot on one of those Razor scooters.
Follow your favorite band on tour
Sorry, friends, but if it’s an event that requires a wristband to buy alcohol, we hope it’s a one-off and not an entire season. You’re just too old for this.
Wear really, really skinny jeans (for men)
Stick to the dad jeans, buddy. Or, better yet, try one of these 10 Best Jeans to Buy in Bulk.
Buy the cheap seats
There’s simply no excuse for purchasing nosebleed seats when you’re after 40—unless it’s a major playoff event or you’re rolling solo and making a last-minute decision to attend. The truth is, if you’re treating your family to a great sporting event or concert, you should be able to plan in advance and drop the necessary dough to make it fun and exciting, and that means being able to see what you’ve come to see.
Skip the doctor
It can be kind of a badge of honor to not go to the doctor when you are young because you are so healthy and strong and invincible. But as the years wear on, your body will begin to break down and systems will start to fray and deteriorate before you know it. Make it a priority to get a physical once every two years now that you’ve breached 40. And for more ways to live smarter, here are the 10 Secrets for Maximizing Any Doctor’s Visit.
Use the word “bae”
There is nothing more cringe-worthy than someone in middle age trying to appropriate trendy words that the kids are all using. It can be so tempting to cling to some kind of youth and sprinkle these words like “bae” and “turnt” and “woke” into your speech when chatting with kids, but just don’t. Even if you use it correctly, you’ll still look silly. And for more words you shouldn’t say, here are the 40 Words People Over 40 Wouldn’t Understand.
Eat pizza for breakfast
Slipping that cold leftover slice of pizza into the toaster oven before you head off to work can be tempting, but just leave it for someone else’s lunch or save it for a nice after-work treat. Be an adult and make some eggs and toast or a nice bowl of fiber-filled oatmeal with antioxidant-rich berries. Your stomach will thank you later. And in case you’re wondering: This Is the Best Way to Reheat Pizza.
Sleeping on a couch is now only acceptable if your partner kicked you out of bed for the night or you are sick and don’t want to disturb your spouse. If you’re on a business trip, you should crash at the only acceptable place: your hotel.
Follow your kids’ friends on Instagram
Trust us: They will find it really creepy.
Play video games all night
Video games are fun and they can even help keep your mind sharp into middle and old age, so go ahead and play them—just make it an occasional thing for rainy days or lazy weekends. There’s no need to sit down for a session immediately after work and play until the wee hours anymore.
Staying in shape and working out is something you should be doing into middle age. It’ll keep you strong and healthy as you age, but doing something like Parkour or obstacle races as you get older just looks silly and can be dangerous. Stick to CrossFit (if you must), working out at your gym or going on trail runs and bike rides if you need something more stimulating.
Wear overly girly clothes to work
You are a working woman, which means you are strong, powerful, and professional. Trust us: Pink Chuck Taylors or animal patterns or ripped denim send the signal that you’re ready for spring break. And for more clothing to avoid, check out the 40 Things No Woman Should Wear to Work.
Buy cheap alcohol
Low-grade liquor was when you had no money in college, but now it’s time to step up to decent booze. Now, there’s no need to splurge on case after case of top shelf liquor and fancy bubbly, but every mature household should have a bar with the basics: nice whiskey, scotch, vodka, gin, and a few mixers and bitters, none of which come in plastic bottles. And for some quick mixology advice, here are 15 Two-Ingredient Cocktails You Can Make in 15 Seconds.
Wear cut-off shorts
By now you can afford shorts without making your own.
Avoid the dentist
Skipping out on cleanings and checkups at the dentist for too many years can catch up to you in middle age and saddle you with pricey root canals, fillings, and crowns, so don’t put it off. Try to go at least once a year for cleanings and preventative care—you don’t want to head into old age missing teeth or sporting dentures. It’s not a good look.
Enter a wet t-shirt contest
We really, really, really hope this one goes without saying.
You’re 40, which means you frequent much more dignified establishments than your neighborhood karaoke bar.
When a young person takes a selfie, there’s a certain sweetness to the overt narcissism on display. And, in the back of your mind, you know that they’ll eventually grow out of this phase in their life. You? You’ve grown out of that phase of your life.
Down Jello shots
Or Jello anything, for that matter.
Hi the mosh pit
Chances are this will go horribly wrong for you.
Eat fast food
Hopefully at this stage in your life you’ve realized that scarfing down fast food is not good for your body. Unless you are on a road trip and can’t find anything else to eat and are starving, just stay awa. It’s not worth putting into your body.
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