Over 40? Here’s All of the Terrible Life Advice You Should Start Ignoring
Sometimes, it's best to just tune out the "sound advice."
As you grow older, you’ll find that a lot in life changes. One thing that doesn’t? People will always, always give you unsolicited advice. And while some utterances indeed qualify as sage wisdom (“Don’t retire until your money makes more than you did in your best year”), many of them are complete and utter malarkey.
For an idea of what type of “sound advice” to completely disregard, look no further. We’ve rounded up all the snippets that should be ignored and avoided at all costs—especially if you’ve passed the 40 mark.
“Going to the doctor is a waste of time.”
That weird new pain you just started noticing could be nothing. But, then again, it could be something! Don’t be the person who regrets putting off a doctor’s appointment because they did a Google search for their symptoms and the first result said “it’s probably nothing.”
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
It’s the kind of adage people only use when they want to avoid learning a new skill. You most certainly can teach an old dog new tricks, unless the old dog is just not paying attention.
“You can sleep when you’re dead.”
Well, first of all, dead isn’t the same as sleeping. When you’re done sleeping, you wake up refreshed and full of energy. Dead is just dead. But sure, if you think your 40-year-old body doesn’t need restorative sleep to perform at its best, then go ahead and cut down on your hours of REM sleep. Chances are, you’ll feel a million times better with a full night’s rest.
“Looking that tired and haggard is just part of growing older.”
We’ve got just one word for you, and it’s a word that should become a permanent part of your daily routine: Moisturize.
“Read the comments.”
“I have some constructive, mature, and well-thought-out criticism to offer,” wrote nobody in any online comments section ever.
“There’ll be plenty of time to travel when you’re retired.”
Nothing about that sentence is correct. For one thing, time is the most precious resource you have—you can never have “plenty” of it. Also, we’re not sure what you’re expecting from your senior years, but “let’s go backpacking through Europe” isn’t a suggestion that gets brought up in retirement communities all that often.
“An affair will make you feel young again.”
If you’re that unsatisfied in your relationship, do everyone a favor and just get a divorce. An extramarital affair makes a fool of you and your spouse, and it never, ever has a happy ending. And for a look behind the curtain of adultery, This Is the Age When Men Are Most Likely to Cheat and This Is the Age When Women Are Most Likely to Cheat.
“You’re too old for mentors.”
You may not need a mentor like you did in your teens and twenties, when you were starting from scratch. But if you think there’s nobody in the world who has anything new to teach you, you’ve missed out on an endlessly valuable lesson.
“Quit your job.”
Unless you’ve just won the lottery, this is a terrible idea. Sure, it’s never too late to start over—but it might be too late to get a comparable salary with health and dental, matching 401k, and a generous PTO policy.
“Yeah, that mole looks weird. But I’m sure it’s fine. Forget about it.”
Unless you have a dermatology degree, you are in no medical position to be making diagnoses like, “I’m sure it’s fine.” Let the professionals make that call.
“Let’s go out!” (On a Wednesday.)
The heady days when you could stay out late drinking on a Wednesday are unfortunately behind you. Or maybe fortunately! It depends how you look at it. And if you find yourself regularly hitting the sauce mid-week, Here’s What Your Drinking Habits Say About Your Health.
“It’s no big deal to live beyond your means.”
Are you familiar with the phrase “makin’ it rain”? It’s basically throwing around cash like there’s no tomorrow. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a tomorrow, and if you keep spending like that it’s going to be a very, very poor tomorrow.
“Don’t do anything that scares you.”
Former President George H.W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by skydiving. That, friends, is how you grow old like a true stud. You don’t shy away from the things that terrify you, you go directly towards them. So strap on that parachute, get in the plane, and get ready for the time of your life.
“Your career is the most important thing.”
If you quit your job right now, your company could have you replaced within the week. But for your family, you’re not just another warm body that gets a salary. Devote more time in your life to the only job that really matters.
“Just ‘borrow’ from your savings.”
“It’s never too late to be in the best shape of your life.”
Just staying in shape and exercising regularly should be enough for you. Why this fascination with six-pack abs? It’s not going to extend your life or convince your boss to give you a raise or help you carve out any more quality time with your family.
“You can definitely put off getting a colonoscopy until next year.”
You’ve gotta do it. Plain and simple.
“You should be old enough to know better.”
That famous proverb that begins “To err is human” doesn’t end with “unless you’re over 40, cause by then you’ll know everything and you’ll never make another mistake or error in judgement for as long as you live!” Cut yourself some slack.
“Don’t give an inch.”
The older you get, the easier it is to have a narrow view of the world. You’ve got a certain way of doing things and you won’t be told differently. Try releasing that white-knuckled grip on your comfort zone and stop being so stubborn. Believe it or not, other people may know a few things that you don’t.
“Everyone looks great in a hat.”
Whether it’s a baseball cap worn backwards or an off-kilter trilby, hats really only serve a cosmetic purpose. And, as anyone over 40 knows, the best clothing is a mix of form and function.
“If you’re hungry for pizza, have some pizza. Who cares if it’s the middle of the night?”
Your digestive system isn’t the powerhouse it was in your youth, when you could cram all the junk you wanted into it without consequence. Take it easy, and try not to cave in to every craving.
“There’s no need to stop and smell the roses.”
Life moves fast, especially as you get older. If you don’t take a moment or two every day to appreciate the small things, you’re going to miss out on so much that’s awesome about the world.
“Don’t bury the hatchet.”
Sure, because why bother forgiving somebody for a slight that happened so long ago you probably don’t even remember what it was about anymore? No way you’ll end up regretting that down the line, right? Um, no. Don’t be that person. Pick up the phone.
“I read it in…”
Just because someone wrote it down doesn’t mean it’s true. This includes social media posts, your uncle (who heard it from a guy who heard it from another guy), and the hundreds of fringe blogs and obscure websites vying for your attention.
“Just put some makeup on it.”
Less is more, especially when it comes to cosmetics. If your makeup looks like it was applied with a paintbrush, you should take your regular makeup routine and cut it in half.
“Let’s reschedule.” (Again, and again, and again.)
How many times have you heard (or said) this lie? Friendships are precious and they need to be nurtured like any other relationship. If they slip away, where exactly are you planning to find new ones? Gonna go cruising for friends at the singles bars?
“Stretching is for yoga and pilates junkies.”
Lifting, running, and various forms of cardio are all amazing workouts. But, as you age, if you want maximum performance, stretching is mandatory. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself regularly facing stiff, achy muscles. So limber up!
“You should get on Twitter.”
What are you aiming for exactly? The fleeting admiration of thousands of strangers? Or the horrifying flip-side: you send a tweet that’s interpreted as offensive by thousands of strangers and, as a result, you end up losing your job? No good can come from obsessively tweeting.
“Get a load of this.”
If it’s whispered and begins with the phrase “You won’t believe what I just heard,” take them at their word… and don’t believe them.
“We should start a band.”
So you’ve always dreamed of learning how to play the guitar and starting your very own rock band? That’s a great idea! You have to consider what comes along with being part of a nascent band, though: sleeping in a van while you travel the country to play for dozens of people for no money.
“Oh, they have great early-bird specials!”
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Don’t be in such a hurry to get a senior discount. It’s okay to dine with people not in their 80s.
“Never play hooky.”
There’s a difference between being responsible and being too responsible. Don’t fall into the latter category. It’s okay, even essential, to take care of yourself occasionally. Call into work sick even when you’re feeling fine. Pulling a Ferris Bueller isn’t just for the young’uns.
“Listen to your sweet tooth.”
More sugar? How about much, much, much less? No doctor has ever said to a 40-year-old, “I’m concerned about these blood tests. Are you sure you’re eating enough Cap’n Crunch?”
“Never get lost.”
Feeling young isn’t just a number. It’s remembering how good it can feel to get lost. If you haven’t done it in awhile, spend a day just driving with no game plan and no particular direction in mind. Just the wind in your hair and the road ahead heading to who knows where.
“You know what you’d look amazing in? Skin-tight leather pants.”
If you didn’t say “nope” after “skin-tight,” you definitely should’ve after “leather.”
“If I were you, I’d throw the first punch.”
You shouldn’t even be throwing the second punch. Be the bigger person and walk away.
“You’re up for some crowd-surfing at the punk show tonight, right?”
They might as well have asked you, “How many bones do you want to break tonight?”
“Face piercings are awesome.”
If you’ve managed to survive this long without an eyebrow stud or a nose ring, why are you in such a hurry to get one now? It doesn’t make you look younger—it makes you look like an old person still trying to upset his or her parents.
“Plastic surgery is amazing.”
If you think nobody is going to notice, think again. Even the most subtle nip-and-tuck looks like a cry for help from a middle-aged person who refuses to grow old.
“Use more millennial slang you barely understand.”
Please don’t. Unless your goal is to sound like the lamest undercover cop trying to make a drug bust. “Any of you hip cats know where a salty bae can get wazzed and/or turnt? Sorry not sorry!” And for more language you probably can’t pull off, here are 40 Words People Over 40 Wouldn’t Understand.
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