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50 in the Rearview Mirror

We have know-how (and know-not) in our hip pockets, and the time is right for a few adjustments

Drawing of man dragging a bag of words to the trash. Inappropriate language if you are 50 and older.

Illustrations by Bonnie Timmons

Words to Ax

, as in overserved, hammered, wasted.
Sick! ... for cool or crazy.
like … We mean “I said” or “I say.” So we should say it.
Totes. Unless you totally mean that clever little umbrella.
Hot. Except when referring to the weather or habaneros.
Kick it. Marginal even for those 50+ in a rock band still being paid … even at state fairs.

More slang to drop.

What Not to Wear

Miniskirts, minishorts, anything that’s been deliberately diminished or ripped — unless it’s you or your muscles.
Purses with dogs on them. Purses with dogs in them.
Low-rise pants that showcase low-rise anatomy.
Super-tight skinny jeans, even if you are both.
T-shirts that say “Sexy Grandma,”  “Vote for Ozzy” or “I Am the Man from Nantucket.”
Gold chains with your name on them. Gold chains. Chains.

More fashion no-nos.

Things Never to Do Again

Drinking champagne from your son’s girlfriend’s shoe. Drinking champagne from your own shoe.
Jell-O shots
after Jell-O shots.
Crowd surfing to the mosh pit.
Collecting owls made of shells, frogs made of ceramic or lawn gnomes made of anything.

More things to avoid.

People to No Longer Tolerate

Space invaders. Those who stand too close, consuming space, energy, oxygen and time.
Those who don’t know you when you’re down and out but just love you when you’re “back.”
People who learned all they ever needed to know in high school — and are still living it.
Arrogant doctors,
educators, waiters, TV commentators, athletes, authors, legislators, coaches or anyone who lets a little influence go to their head.

Things to Do at Least Once

Dance outside at night in a foreign land.
Create a boundary in life. Then take down a wall.
Write long handwritten letters to your grandchildren, even the ones who aren’t born yet.
Put your wedding photos in an album before your 25th anniversary. Finish the baby book before the kid’s 25th birthday.
Start telling the truth, every day.
Stand up for what you believe, and do so with dignity.
Be able to retire but say, the hell with it, I’m going strong.

More things to try at least once.

Jacquelyn Mitchard is the best-selling author of 21 books. Her newest, Second Nature, comes out this month.

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