How to Be Old Without Calling Attention to Yourself

Posted on August 28, 2011


                                                   (photo credit to:

Many of you might notice, as you cross the threshold of fifty and then sixty, that as you age, entire other populations of people seem to be getting younger.  Doctors, especially, seem to have gone directly from playing with plastic medical kits to wielding sharp, scary metal instruments, usually in your direction.

If you are especially observant, you might notice that you have started to feel like a tiny minority in a groundswell of large, unruly, authority-wielding children who now make decisions about your health, your finances, and your ability to understand your remote.  You feel like you are in the gym on a treadmill that is set at 3.0 when everyone around you is at 6.2 (and actually working up a sweat.)

For those of you who haven’t yet made the move to an over-55 community, in which you can make forays into the world from the protection of a community-owned vehicle that makes frequent bathroom stops and is filled with people just like you, you might need some tips on how to deal with all the adult children in the world-at-large.  Here are some:

1. Never admit that you don’t remember who people are. If you run into someone out in the world and they appear to know you but nothing is ringing a bell, say “Well, if it isn’t one of my favorite people!”  This especially covers the possibility that the unknown person is one of your children.

2. Never ask anyone a question about technology.  If the conversation is beyond your comprehension, you can always interject: “Word on the street is that that particular technology might already be passé.  I’m about what’s next.”

3. Never expose your cell phone.  If you have to make or receive a call, laugh and explain that your iPhone is once again being repaired and this is a loaner.  Then add, “I’m counting the days until the next version is available.”  If your cell phone has an actual ring, rather than an app that provides a changing array of top ringtones featuring Keisha and Lil Wayne, leave it home entirely.

4. Never start a sentence with “I remember when…” or “Back in my time…” or “It used to be that…” Unless you are speaking with someone who is currently incarcerated or is confined to a hospital bed, they will immediately leave the room.

5. Never use the word “nowadays.”  This implies that you remember a time other than the present, which no one around you is capable of.

6. Never, when speaking with a neighbor, identify any house with the name of the previous (or worse, original) owner’s name, as in “The Quackenbush house.”  This is especially true in very old neighborhoods.

7. Never tell anyone you go to bed at 9.  If you are at a social gathering, simply excuse yourself and say, “I’ll be getting home now.  I do my best writing at night.”

8. Never answer a question about anyone or anything in pop culture.  If you are asked what you think about Nicki Minaj or Bachelor Pad, for example, say “What to say?  Life in the Boomer Lane thinks everything that can be said has been said about her/it already, don’t you think?”

9. Never forward any email to anyone under the age of 45.  This is especially critical when the email concerns a warning about a scary computer virus or contains animated unicorns or photos of baby animals.

10. Never mention QVC or HSN.  At any time.  To any person.  Under any circumstances.

You’ll thank LBL for these tips.  Good luck.