If you’re anywhere near middle aged, you are assaulted on the daily with miracle anti-aging serums and creams to keep you young. Now, all of these are bullshit, and, also, I buy many of them. Both things can be true. But I’m starting to think that maybe staying young has almost nothing to do with looking young and everything to do with hanging on to some relevance to avoid becoming completely out of touch with trends and dissolving into a caricature of a crotchety old person. Here’s a quick guide I put together with almost zero thought to help you out.
Warning: If you take yourself too seriously, you are going to hate every word that follows. No need to read it and write to me with your concerns. This guide is not for everyone, hell, it’s mostly nonsense. If you are happy with your current aging and welcome irrelevance, that’s badass, good for you, and, also, stop reading. For everyone else, let’s do this…
#1: Well, for starters, you need to get on TikTok. I’m serious. Nothing ages you like being opposed to new technology, including the latest trends in social media. I’m not saying you have to like it, but as soon as you start ho-humming what the kids are up to, you’re showing your age. Embracing this fast-paced form of social media is exactly the kind of thing that will keep you young.
#2: Refrain from hating on Gen Z. The very minute you decide the next generation is insufferable, you’re old. Nothing screams of irrelevance than acting like your age group and generation is better than anyone else’s. Look, most of you are like me, Gen X, and we have zero high ground on the generational pecking order. We are barely definable, hell, our anthem is “whatever.” Do yourself a favor, and realize that the only reason you hate Gen Z is for the unforgivable sin they’ve committed of being younger than you, and for their youthful indifference to life, which is envious AF.
#3: Dial back your political ire. This one is tough for me. But you know how old people are famous for keeping news program running in the background of their lives 24/7, just angrily shouting into the void to no avail? Yeah, there’s nothing young about that. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be committed to your causes, have at it. But maybe replace your obsession of shouting at the news with the simple obsessions of being young…like scoring alcohol and hooking up. Everyone wins!
#4: Part your hair in the middle. Everyone who watches The Bachelor knows that side parts are out. If you are indignantly proud that you don’t watch that garbage show, I get it. Hey, I don’t make the rules, but I’m learning all the anti-wrinkle cream in the world can’t erase how much a high horse and an extreme side part age you. If, like me, you can’t rock a middle part (cowlicks), try to get as close as you can. I believe in you.
#5: Stop hating your body. Ugh. This one is tough for kids who grew up in the last millennial. We were aggressively taught to hate our bodies. If I didn’t have teenage daughters, I wouldn’t even know how much it ages me to body shame myself. To stay young and hip, you’ve got to embrace your body type and current body mass index and stop apologizing about it.
#6: You need to go back in time and not tweeze your eyebrows so much. This one is tough, as it requires time travel, but, alas, thick eyebrows are in and you’ve over-tweezed for decades. If you can find some way to thicken your eyebrows…do it. And then tell me how.
#7: Get Botox. I’m kidding. Or am I? It’s fine. Get it done. Don’t. Who cares?
#8: Don’t say “slacks.” You’ve never said slacks your entire life, but something about aging makes the word slacks come to your mind. Resist the urge to use this word. If you accidentally do, say you were referring to something kind of okay…something that “slacks.” It might work. Godspeed.
#9: Don’t dance in front of your teenagers. Trust me on this. I was one of the greatest club dancers ever to walk the face of the earth. I was a combination of sexy stripper, coy seductress, and wanton dance goddess. Now, in front of my kids, I can’t remember how to dance and find myself doing some horrid form of step touch with snapping that makes me seem like a cute granny just short of a cat sweatshirt. I don’t understand why this is, but when I dance with my teens, I seem days away from being put in a home.
#10: Stop talking about how much you want to have grandkids. Why am I doing this?? My oldest is 20 and I’m obsessed with this fantasy of my grown kids having their kids come to some house we’ve rented on the beach. If you are plagued with these thoughts, keep them to yourself. It’s still like a decade away and gives away that you have absolutely nothing going in your life, and this milestone is the next big thing you’re looking forward to…and, embarrassingly, it’s not even happening to you.
#11: When you hear Huey Lewis and the News try to stay cool. Don’t under any circumstances launch into a story of that time you got a white bathing suit because the girl in the video had one, and it was a whole thing, and kind of a coup, that you could find one and pull it off. No one cares. No one even believes you.
#12: You’ve got to stop following the weather in so many places. Imagine going back in time and explaining that to your young self? It’s weird. Also, I will not stop.
#13: Don’t talk about what you had for lunch that time you went out with your friend. As soon as you start down the dark path of telling people you had the quiche Lorraine with a perfectly dressed side salad with the tangiest vinaigrette, and, oh, they put a little bit of fresh mint in your iced tea, you will instantly become a crypt keeper. When asked how lunch was, casually shrug, and say indifferently, “slacks.”
I hope this quick list helps you see there are many ways to regain some of your youth and relevance, well, at least for a few more years. Pretty soon you will succumb, and there will be nothing left to do but put on your slacks, blast your Huey Lewis and start doing your old person, snappy, step touch groove to the Power of Love and not even post it on TikTok.