Gen. Douglas MacArthur once said, “Rules are made to be broken.” Ciera Williams of West Philly Hybrid X Team once said, “Rules are for chumps.” So, if a decorated World War II general and a high-school student involved in alternative fuel research at The Workshop School agree on something, we should pay attention. Some of the rules by which we are told to live should have an expiration date. Toward that noble end, Gildshire Magazines declares the following rules null and void at the age of fifty!
- Your Best Days are Behind You: As noted theologian Barry Lind once said, “Puh-leeeze.” Fifty years old can be the starting point for the best years of your life. By that time many of life’s most difficult challenges are behind us. The kids are out of the house, and the chase up the corporate ladder is mostly a thing of your past. You’re wise enough to know better and young enough to do it anyway. Don’t believe the negative hype. These can be your BEST years.
You Find Love When You Stop Looking For it: Nonsense, we say. No less a luminary than Cervantes said, “Faint heart ne’er won, fair lady.” Be proactive about love, because it won’t come knocking at your door looking for a session of neck kissing. Complete that eHarmony profile you started. You won’t find the best cheesecake in town without ordering some. The same goes for companionship and love.
- You Should Always be Dignified: Did you know that the best way to stay young is to laugh? If that is true, the best way to stay really young is to laugh until milk comes out of your nose. Laugh loudly. Laugh too loudly. Who are you worried about offending? The Millennial looking down his nose at you should have the fun you’re having, not to mention your net worth.
Are You Going to Wear…That? Yes, and Gildshire thinks a purple scarf would look great with it. Look at the label on an outfit that catches your eye. It has a size, but no age is listed. At fifty you can still manage stiletto heels and, if you like them, you should.
- Time Heals Everything: It is true that heartache fades with time. Or, is it that you have buried heartache in a corner where it continues to fester? Don’t be ashamed to talk to a mental health counselor. In fact, 50 years old is a good time for a mental health checkup.
- You Shouldn’t Spend Time Alone: Why in the world not? By the time you’re 50, you have developed an enjoyment of quiet times spent alone. Who knows you better than you? Friends and family are great, but solitude can be its own battery charger.
- You’re Too Young for the Senior Discount: In fact, you’re too smart not to take the discount. Ride that bus for half-price. See that hit movie for 25% off. You’ve spent 30 years helping subsidize other people’s senior discount. Now, it is your turn!
If You Aren’t Sweating You Aren’t Getting a Workout: A half hour walk in the park is as heart-beneficial as an eight-minute run, without the wear and tear on your knees and hips.
- Men and Women Can’t Be “Just Good Friends.” There may have been some truth to this when you were 25-30. Lingering in the back of at least one person’s mind may well have been the “what-if.” By the time you turn fifty, though, your relationship with your friend can become truly meaningful and still be “friend.”
- The Past Should Stay in the Past. Have you noticed how many of these rules explode with one word? “Why?” For its many faults, social media has brought millions of old friends together again and has taught new friends that they should have been friends back in high school. Think of your past as a fallow field ready for planting and harvesting friendship.
- Keep Your Eyes Focused on the Future. Recent advances in DNA testing have made the past more accessible than it has ever been. Your Mom told you that your people came from Europe. Where in Europe? There are several great DNA research products out there, so get one and find out exactly where you are from. Then, plan a trip there.
- Early to Bed and Early to Rise. A fine idea if your idea of breakfast is a worm omelet. Otherwise, follow the dictates of your own body clock. There is nothing inherently noble about getting up at six and going to bed at ten. Your circadian rhythm established itself at the time of your birth. Fighting uphill against it is counterproductive.
- One Glass of Wine a Day is Good for You. Sorry, but this one was truer when you were younger. Age changes the way your body metabolizes alcohol, bringing on a greater incidence of a hangover and even premature drunkenness! Tread lightly on the fruit of the vine.
- Don’t Wear White After Labor Day. Time for a history lesson on the ills of snobbery. This was an arbitrary rule invented after the Civil War to separate “old” money from “new” money. As such, it was a way for women to look down on other (usually younger and prettier) women they didn’t like. So forget this silly rule. Wear white when you feel like it. Psst, don’t “feel like it” at someone else’s wedding.
Don’t Eat Before Bed. It is amazing how many rules are made up out of nothing the least bit scientific. Your body doesn’t know what time it is; it just knows whether or not you’re hungry. If you go to bed hungry, you’ll actually sleep worse, causing you to be sluggish the next day.
- Cleanliness is Next to Godliness. Gildshire isn’t saying to have a messy house, with piles of unread newspapers in the corner. However, “I wish I had dusted more” is said on their deathbed by no one ever. Remember that the next time you’re deciding between cleaning your house or taking the grandkids for ice cream.
- Be Ashamed of Your Age. It isn’t the “21st Anniversary of your 29th birthday.” It’s your 50th birthday and you’re smarter than you’ve ever been and still dead sexy. Embrace this, and every, day.