How to be 50: How to Feel Better About Yourself

By Charlotte Latvala

Be truthful: You’re not where you imagined you’d be, some decades back. Because, at 20, you pictured yourself living in a Duran Duran video, or at least working at some cool job like Martha Quinn’s.

Martha was a great role model. But not necessarily for you.

Martha was a great role model. But not necessarily for you.

The reality is that you have a pile of bills, an unpredictably leaky roof, and eyesight so bad you need to magnify your screen to 140% just to check Facebook.

But there’s no cause for sadness. You can feel better about your underachieving ways without tiresome soul-searching. Try these shortcuts instead: Continue reading



Filed under eighties, humor, lists, middle-aged

How to be 50: How to Argue with your Spouse*

By Charlotte Latvala

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Decades ago, you and your spouse* had heated arguments that went on for hours. Days, even. Your relationship was a spicy stew of emotion; you fought hard and made up passionately.

At 50, it’s harder to get quite so riled up, especially with someone you’ve known since you both dressed like Joan Jett. When you do fight these days, your goal is usually to wrap it up by the time Dancing with the Stars comes on.  

But just in case you need a refresher: Continue reading


Filed under fighting, humor, marriage, middle-aged, self-help

How to be 50: How to Find More Energy

By Charlotte Latvala

You, most days.

You, around 3 p.m. most days.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that at 50, you have as much energy as a damp paper towel. And not one of the expensive, super-absorbent ones you can use over and over again, either.

So here at How to be 50, we’ve come up with some ingenious and scientifically proven ways to combat the mental and physical sludge. Such as: Continue reading


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How to be 50: How to Get out of Stuff You Don’t Want to Do

By Charlotte Latvala

One of the wonderful things about turning 50 is that you no longer feel obligated to participate in unpleasant social functions.

But simply shouting “Hell, no!” won’t win you any friends when someone asks you to chaperone a high school event or coordinate the neighborhood garage sale. So the next time some busy-body suggests you lend a hand, pitch in, or do your share, just… Continue reading


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

How to be 50: How to Throw a 50th Birthday Party

By Charlotte Latvala

Every milestone deserves a mug.

Every milestone deserves a mug.

Once you turn 50, you discover that one of your new duties is throwing parties for all your equally ancient friends. Don’t sulk; instead, consider it a wonderful chance for revenge!

Of course, you’ll need some black balloons. And don’t forget to:

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Filed under 50, birthday, humor, lists, middle-aged, parties

How to be 50: 25 Things You Won’t Miss

By Charlotte Latvala

Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1981.

Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1981.

It’s tempting, now that you’re 50, to wax nostalgic about the good old days. After all, back in the 1980s your metabolism was 10 times faster, you could remember all the members of The Smiths (not just Morrissey and Johnny Marr), and you were blithely unaware of the hazards of genetically modified foods.

All that, and you could function amazingly well on four hours of sleep.

But was the past actually better? Well, do you really want to go back to the days when you had to carry your mobile phone in a sack as big as a diaper bag? What about schlepping a diaper bag, period? And how about these other not-so-good memories? Such as:

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Filed under 1970s, 1980s, humor, lists, mid-life

How to be 50: How to Live Vicariously through Your Children

By Charlotte Latvala


If you have children, it is your God-given right – no, it is your duty – to live your life through them.

Otherwise, why do the little fiends exist?

Ok, we’re being facetious. They exist to fetch wine and hummus when you don’t feel like walking all the way to the kitchen. But by 50, you deserve more. Whether your children are 13 or 30, they should fulfill every desire, whim, and wistful longing you ever had.
To begin:

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Filed under humor, kids, mid-life, parenting, self-help

How to be 50: How to Romanticize Your Past


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. Continue reading


Filed under 1980s, humor, middle-aged, self-help

How to be 50: How to Retire


By Charlotte Latvala

Retirement? What? you’re saying – I’m only 50, for crying out loud. And although you’ve heard those urban myths about people retiring at 50, you’ve never met anyone who actually has.

Still, the Big R is kinda, sorta looming. Mathematically, you’re closer to retirement than, say, having your first legal drink.

And because you’re the sort of 50-year-old who’s reading How to be 50 instead of Forbes, you probably need some friendly advice about facing this major milestone.

First and foremost: You can’t just stop working.

You need money. You need a plan. You need a dream.

But mostly, you need money.

How to be 50 can’t simply write you a check. But, as usual, we do offer some handy shortcuts: Continue reading


Filed under humor, lists, mid-life, retirement, self-help

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: Continue reading


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