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. (In many cases, what’s good advice for a 21-year-old isn’t good advice for a 41-year-old.) And for more advice hacks, check out the 40 Amazing Ways to Feel Younger After 40.
“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… if you think sleeping in a van while you travel the country to play for dozens of people for no money sounds like a swell time.
“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.
“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.
“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 benefits and a 401k.
“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 you end up losing your job? No good can come from obsessively tweeting. For more on why you should stay offline, check out the 20 Ways Social Media Stresses Us Out.
“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. If you find yourself regularly hitting the sauce mid-week, Here’s What Your Boozing 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.
“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!” For more words on what to not say, check out these 40 Everyday Slang Words That Were Invented Online.
“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.
“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 piss off his or her parents.
“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 it’s probably nothing.
“Read the comments.”
“I have some constructive, mature, and well-thought-out criticism to offer,” wrote nobody in any online comments section ever.
“Everyone looks great in a hat.”
Whether it’s a baseball cap worn backwards or a trilby, you just look ridiculous.
“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 too darn lazy to pay attention.
“Just ‘borrow’ from your savings.”
The only time you should be “borrowing” from your savings account is during an actual emergency. That’s why you have savings, not to give you extra spending cash during a Disney vacation.
“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 don’t cave in to every craving.
“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.
“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. And for more health hacks, see the 40 Ways to Have More Energy After 40.
“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 dozens of blogs and 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.)
Sorry, that’s just not true. 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?
“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 dang well won’t be told differently. Release 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.
“Stretching is for yoga and pilates junkies.”
Hope you enjoy stiff, achy muscles, cause that’s where you’re heading if you keep this up.
“You can sleep when you’re dead.”
Well first of all, dead isn’t the same as sleeping. When you’re 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. Tell us how that works out for you.
“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 obviously haven’t been paying attention.
“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.
“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.
“There’ll be plenty of time to travel when you’re retired.”
Nothing about that sentence is correct. For one thing, it’s a bit presumptuous to assume you’ll have “plenty of time” for anything after you retire. 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. And for more ways to maximize travel, don’t miss the 20 Ways to Make Travel Less Stressful.
“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!”
“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. And to really make the most of it, don’t miss these 10 Parenting Secrets from an All-Star Dad.
“Looking that tired and haggard is just part of growing older.”
We’ve got just one word for you, and it’s a word you should’ve discovered long ago: Moisturize.
“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 youngins.
“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.”
“You can definitely put off getting a colonoscopy until next year.”
You’ve gotta do it. Plain and simple.
“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?”
“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.
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