I'm Over 50 And Happier Than Ever (Take That, Society!)

A strange phenomenon happens when you've lived for a full five decades. "Silent rules" are slowly imposed upon your behavior. These affect the way you dress, drive, dance, and even decorate—whatever you do for happiness. Younger members of society, and even some older ones too, might tell you that it doesn't matter how you dress—you can't get away with glaring fashion faux pas because of your age.

People make jokes about breaking a hip whenever you wander out onto the dance floor, and your whole family seems to assume that because you're "older" now, nothing gets you more pumped up than scented candles, slippers, and knick knacks.

This wouldn't be so bad on its own, but some not-so-silent rules for acting one's age are beginning to emerge, too. I came across an article titled "11 Things You Should Never Do Again After 50" just the other day. Topping off that list were:

  1. Parkour—Why should some mild parkour be a problem after 50 if you've been a health nut all your life and are diligent about maintaining your physical fitness?
  2. Crowd surfing—Sounds pretty fun to me.
  3. Getting excited about the number of stamps in your passport—What if you'd never had the funds or chance to travel outside of the country until age 45?

Personally, I thought the list was a bit petty, but continued to browse around the site out of morbid curiosity about what else I'm not supposed to do anymore after my upcoming birthday. Spoiler alert: things got worse.

What did I find?

Well, apparently, after you're over 50 it is unacceptable to utter the following words: "panties," "friend me," "whatever," or even "cool." Your vocabulary must also be stereotypically "old" and include not a single reference to pop culture or slang.

You are an anomaly if you even bother with keeping up with those things, anyhow. Super-sized fries, a bigger TV screen, new hobbies, and eating chicken also made the "not for people over 50 under any circumstances" list. Just to be a bit rebellious here, I'll express my feelings about giving up French fries with the following phrase: "I can't even ..."

On a more serious note, I was obviously appalled at all of these strict guidelines and stifling societal expectations set forth by god knows who. I'm a firm believer in individuality, and all of these guidelines on how to implode quietly in a comfortable armchair in a dimly lit living room at 6 pm somewhere (rather than continuing to experience, grow, and change as you age) are really frustrating.

Each of us is a unique and free-willed individual; we shouldn't give up all of our quirks and passions to become one and the same—the stereotypical "old" person—just because we turn 50.

If anyone else is feeling boxed in by the stereotypes typically associated with being a man or woman over fifty, I'd like you to know that you're certainly not alone. If you're letting those same stereotypes actually influence your decisions and behaviors in order to "act your age," though, then there's something that you need to know:

Just like the number on your bathroom scale isn't necessarily a reflection of your overall health, the year on your birth certificate isn't truly an indication of your abilities, personality, likes, dislikes, passions, or maturity. Your age doesn't define who you are as a person; it is merely one component of your multifaceted and unique life experience.

To put it simply: age really is just a number.

Keep following your passions, try as many new hobbies as you want to (especially if one of them is raising chickens), get physical, wear lace panties and have sex, eat tons of French fries, travel as much as you can, and just enjoy your life. Pay no mind to "acting your age." Opt to act like yourself; there's nothing better or more that you could ever do anyway.