How to be 50: How to Relate to the Kids

By Charlotte Latvala

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No doubt you come in contact with kids (i.e. “anyone younger than me”) every day.

Who are they? Co-workers, Starbucks baristas, the smartly-dressed youngster who’s appraising your house for a re-fi. Suddenly, the world is filled with baby adults who look like they wandered off a Disney Channel sitcom.   

How do you converse with them, these pink-haired entry-level youngsters? Here are your options:

  • Act like one of them. You know what YouTube is. You like Sam Smith. “We have a lot in common,” you’re thinking. “They’re just younger, slimmer versions of me!” Well, the sad truth is that to a twentysomething person, you are either a) invisible or b) Bizarre Old Person at Work. (Think Creed from “The Office.”) Better options might be:
Creed is a fabulous role model.

Creed is a fabulous role model.

  • Treat them like fascinating alien specimens. Examine their tattoos and ask for a detailed explanation of their meaning. Poke at their gauges and wonder aloud how they could do that to their earlobes. Bonus: Ask them what body part you should get pierced.
  • Be a fountain of tough-love advice. Perfect your gruff tone with nuggets like: “Grow up.” “Life’s not fair.” “We didn’t have that option when I was your age.”
  • Relish the fact that they have no idea how old you are. Imply firsthand knowledge of historical events, becoming increasingly outlandish as you go on. (“When we marched at Selma….” “Do you know what it felt like to storm the beach at Normandy?” or “Let me tell you about Joan of Arc….”)
  • Likewise, pretend you don’t know how old they are. Ask your twenty-something co-worker if she’s going to the prom this year, or getting ready to take the SAT.
Ask a young person: Do you think that shade would look great on me?

Ask a young person: Do you think that shade would look great on me?

  • Confuse them by using teenage slang. Refer to your spouse as “bae.” Startle your bank teller by saying her counting skills are “on fleek.” If a Chipotle worker didn’t hear your order correctly, loudly shout “Don’t be a hater, man – I said black beans.”
  • Play up your infirmities. Kids like to feel helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask them to carry bulky packages, hang heavy things in your house, or build a new shed in your backyard. It’s important for every generation to learn how to give. And eventually, to take.
  • If you want to thin out the crowd at any social event, launch into a long story about a) buying your first home b) having kids, or c) what you’re planning to do when you retire. Any of these topics will clear the room faster than a stink bomb, and you can have all the margaritas to yourself. 


Filed under hipsters, humor, mid-life, middle-aged, self-help

18 responses to “How to be 50: How to Relate to the Kids

  1. lol. They’d never understand a line my mother-in-law blurted out on occasion……”I used to walk five miles to school, barefoot in an inch of snow.

  2. My spouse likes to solemnly proclaim, when asked about a scar on his chin, “I got it in ‘Nam.” Hint: he was in grade school and middle school when the U.S. was in Vietnam. lol!

  3. Pingback: How to be 50: How to Relate to the Kids | Middle Aged Rage

  4. My fave is “I used to walk 5 miles to and from school every day……uphill…….both ways”

  5. Also liked that joan of arc bit….lol

  6. As always, another fun article! I especially loved your advice on thinning out the crowd at any social events. You can, in fact, combine that one with the infirmities one. Detailed descriptions of doctor’s visits can also work wonders!
    I have recognized your site with a Liebster. You can check out the nomination at

    • Charlotte Latvala

      Thanks so much, Tracey! I will respond asasp — was on vacation last week and taking soooo long to get back in the swing. Take care my dear!

  7. The other day in Walmart, my daughter picked up a cane and started leaning on it while I was looking at vitamin supplements {something I do more regularly now that I’m 50 ~ every supplement has its benefits, as I’m finding out}. I looked at her and said, “What exactly are you trying to insinuate?” We both laughed.

    I just love your blog and so I have nominated you for The Brotherhood of the World Blogger award. When you feel ready, please visit my blog for details about this award. Accepting and participating is fun and brings new readers and friends, too.

    Congratulations! I look forward to your post.

    Kindest Regards,

    • Charlotte Latvala

      Thanks soooo much, Carol! Love this anecdote! I’m just back from vacation and will get to this asap — so hard to get back in the swing, esp. with school starting — 🙂

  8. Take your time, dearie. Let me know when you’ve posted. {Hugs}

  9. Hilarious!! Good thing I found you!!
    Treat them like aliens- really, aren’t they??

  10. This made me laugh – A LOT. Mostly because I mayself am a child (22) thus must come acros as a alien who thinks she knows everything, and also because I have witnessed these examples from my fellow “elders” trying “to get down with the clique :-p.

    Is this the effect I am going to have on young people when I get “old”? 😉 .

    Great post, I look forward to reading more!

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