1. The urge to cook evaporates. The urge to order out, go out and cop out of cooking takes over. After 50, there is no going back to four-course dinner parties. Those dinner parties now seem like dreams, a time long ago when we pretended we were chefs the way we all once pretended we were rock stars.
2. The achievement years are not over after 50. When it comes to creativity and getting important things done, we older adults are not over until the fat lady sings at the memorial service. (Proof: See resumes of Grandma Moses, Granny D. and Dr. Ruth.)
3. The most common word retired couples use at home is just one syllable: What? The most common phrase? I can’t hear you. Conversation attempted one room to another will not work, proving that, after 50, sound no longer goes through doors or around corners.
4. Grandparenthood doesn’t mean what it used to. Think role revolution. No longer does the word grandma mean rocking chair. In fact, over half of grandparents report playing sports with grandkids. No wonder. The average age of a first-time grandparent is 48 and while that may not be so different than years ago, what’s different is biological age. Today’s grandparents are in better shape than those 100 years ago. They are also more connected to what’s going on in the world. About half of them are still working, which means they have lives beyond the Bermuda triangle of age: the couch, the fridge and the TV.
5. People over 50 begin to care less about what other people think. To understand this on a life stage level, remember that babies don’t care what anyone thinks. Centenarians don’t give a damn either. It’s the years between when the pressure to be popular turns us into social wimps. But the good thing about growing older is that we begin the shed that go-along conditioning and start returning to our natural-born independent selves. By 100, we’ll be able to tell anyone to take a flying leap.
6. After 50, the most important attribute of a mate or friend is a gold-plated, very handsome sense of humor. Nothing works its mood-levitating magic like a good giggle, which is why sitcoms have laugh tracks, not cry tracks. And when you really think about it: If God is watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining.
7. After 50, one can finally tell the difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.
Mel Now On Huffington Post
I will be posting occasionally on the new Huff Post site for people 50 and over. To find my work online, go to www.huffingtonpost.com and put Mel Walsh in the search box. There are other ways to follow those columns, but frankly, since this is a brand new enterprise, I have not yet figured out how to use these methods myself to follow others on the Huff Post. Will let you know when I get a clue.
Anyhow, check out the new Huff/Post 50 under the Living section at the top of the home page. Bill Maher and other ancients past 50—that’s me—will be writing for it and for you.