By Charlotte Latvala
It’s possible that your past was not all that fascinating. We here at How to be 50, for example, spent much of the 1990s swilling Sutter Home and contemplating another serving of General Tso’s chicken. Our evenings were carefully planned around new episodes of “thirtysomething” and we rarely bought anything that wasn’t 30% off at Macy’s.
But what tale didn’t benefit from a little careful editing? Read on for tips on how to embellish, gloss over, and/or fabricate your real past into something worthwhile.
- Borrow other people’s stories. Did your college roommate hike the entire Appalachian Trail? Sky-dive? Fight her way back from bankruptcy and a coke habit? Don’t let long-ago friends grab all the glory when you can claim it for your own! Rule of thumb: If it happened before the Internet, no one can prove it’s not true.
- Post lots of #tbt shots on Instagram. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if they’re you or not – with the terrible clothes and hair of our youth, most of us are unrecognizable in old photos anyway.
- Always refer to the past as “a simpler, more innocent time.” Even though your teens and twenties took place during the most crime-filled, drug-infested, sex-crazed era of United States history, it’s important to cling to the rose-colored version where you frolicked through the streets drinking Kool-Aid (not the insane dangerous kind) and playing turn-of-the-century games with sticks.
- Insist on taking vacations to places where your own family dragged you, no matter how seedy and run-down these tourist spots have become. While there, complain bitterly about how much better things used to be.
- Brag about the obscure bands you may or may not have seen back in the day. Is anyone really going to check whether or not the Hoodoo Gurus played The Decade back in 1984? (Don’t remember the really cool bands? That’s what Pandora is for!)
- Refer coyly to romantic partners who may or may not have existed. If they lived in your mind, then they are worth remembering. Likewise, if a celebrity grew up within 300 miles of you, imply that you were acquaintances.
- Hum your favorite old cigarette jingles as though they were hymns of praise.
- Perfect the half-smile. No need to brag about your past when this mysterious expression says “Oh, what tales I could tell!” (No need to let on that you’re dreaming about a nice cold white zinfandel.)