As we wrote two years ago, New Year’s resolutions are for those who succumb to peer pressure. Does anyone really think the flip of a calendar page is going to give them the determination that they’ve lacked thus far? Or make Donald Trump go away? No, we don’t either.
We prefer a more realistic approach, and so, with the spirit of holiday exhaustion and grumpiness that we happen to be experiencing at the moment, here is our updated version of five New Year’s resolutions that those over 50 should never, ever make:
Resolve that 2017 is the year you will stop working.
Sorry, we just fell off our chair laughing at that one. No, my Pretties, you actually will not stop working in 2017. In fact, there is an excellent chance that you will never stop working, at least not voluntarily and at least not while you are still breathing.
You may thank the Great Recession for the derailment of your retirement plans. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1985 only 10.8 percent of the population age 65 or older was working. In 2013, it was 18.7 percent. And in 2016, it was 20 percent. Nope, nobody is going nowhere unless they are being pushed out the door. Speaking of which, since there are about 1.5 million unemployed Baby Boomers who still can’t find work and would jump at a chance to occupy your desk, you might want to cool any nonsensical retirement talk when you’re within their earshot.
Resolve that you will not be a bawling mess when your nest empties this year.
We think parents who fall apart when their first, last or any kids leave for college are simply misunderstood and are unduly criticized. Critics are fond of slapping the “empty nester” label on them, but that is just so wrong. Plus we all know what happens to empty nests: The gardener uses the hose to flush them out of the rain gutters. Nobody should be hosed for missing their children. Empty nesters are the people who devoted their lives to the support of their kids. We should be lauding them, not hosing them!
Empty nesters should just ignore those who think they need to build lives of their own now. They are clueless. In fact, you should feel free to start uncorking the waterworks as early as the college application process; just thinking about your son moving to that Big City 3,000 miles away is enough to get you all teary, am I right? And you are absolutely correct: Even the dog senses his pending departure and looks depressed. It’s obvious to all but the blind and the insensitive; dogs know stuff.
Your resolution should be this: I will allow myself the pleasure of being miserable when my kids leave for college. I will also allow myself the pleasure of telling off anyone who suggests I don’t have a life of my own.
Resolve that you will never go on HRT.
For those who don’t speak fluent Menopause, HRT stands for hormone replacement therapy. It comes in many shapes and forms and basically produces what your body no longer feels like producing. It is a near-instant end to hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and vaginal dryness. It also isn’t the healthiest thing in the world for a lot of women to be on. Personally speaking, HRT was preferable to incarceration for murdering a slow grocery clerk. We mentioned irritability was a symptom, right?
While HRT used to be the gold standard when it came to treatment for menopausal symptoms, its use changed abruptly after a large clinical trial found that it posed more health risks than benefits for some people. As the concern about health hazards grew, doctors became less likely to prescribe it.
HRT is one of those never say never things. Talk to your doctor about it.
Resolve to reinvent yourself — unless you have a real plan.
The idea that people over 50 can have a second career or chase a long-lost dream in middle age gets a lot of lip service. The problem is, it’s one of those things that’s easier said than done — especially if all you do is talk about it.
If 2017 is going to be your year, you need to do more than exercise the old jawbone. You need to have a plan. You need to take the first step. People who have successfully written a second chapter in their lives all have one thing in common: They took action. They got started. They did more than talk.
Resolve to find shoes that are both stylish and comfortable.
They do not exist. You’re wasting your time. Going forward into aging, shoes will either be comfortable or they will be stylish; they will not be both. You will wear flats every day and keep one pair of black heels for the annual New Year’s Eve party you go to and know that you will be carrying them by the time the ball drops.
Giving up stylish shoes is probably harder than accepting elastic waist pants and drugstore hair coloring into your life. But you will. And your feet will thank you for it. Unless of course someone wants to reinvent themselves as a manufacturer of stylish comfort shoes, in which case, they will also be reinventing themselves into one very rich person.