Tag Archives: satire

How to be 50: How to Know What’s Cool

By Charlotte Latvala

One of the most disconcerting things about turning 50 is that inevitable moment when you realize – perhaps in the midst of your Yoko Ono impersonation at a party – that you have completely lost your ability to judge whether something is amazingly hip or not.

After all, many once-cool things have plummeted from grace. Aluminum siding. Margarine. Bill Cosby.

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If it was un-cool when you were growing up, it’s probably super cool now. Such as….

  • Broadway. Then, it was something corny and old-fashioned your parents forced you to go see. Now, Hamilton.

Cats are always cool. 

  • Filming your cat doing weird stuff. If you followed your cat around with your 8 mm as a teenager, you were quite the dork. Now? Still a dork, but possibly one with 20,000 followers.
wall of sound

Vinyl is a work of art. 

  • Vinyl. So passe, once CDs came out. Now? Vinyl is the gold standard of vintage cool. (You’re kicking yourself for getting rid of those three Boston LPs back in 1998, aren’t you?)

Whereas cassettes are just confusing. 

  • Cassettes. Which are apparently the new vinyl. Eight-tracks and picture discs will follow accordingly.
  • Arena rock. Who knew that Journey would have such a long shelf life? We’d love to stop believing, if only we had the choice.

A hippy’s preferred mode of transport on his way home to his tiny house.

  • Hippy life. In the eighties, what could be less cool than an old hippy, clinging to her memories of Woodstock and bralessness? Now, hippies are back. They are “crunchy.” But still hippies.
  • Tiny houses. In our day, bigger was automatically better; the bigger the square footage, the better. Now, dollhouses are chic.

They almost predate electricity. 

  • Crockpots. Filled with disgusting sloppy Joes in the 1970s, they have now been rebooted as “slow cookers” and touted as a way to cook healthy homemade meals without actually doing any cooking.

This is a modern man. 

  • Beards. No normal person in our day wanted to look like a lumberjack or the cough drop guys. Now the Grizzly Adams meets Kris Kringle look simply will not go away.
  • Thrift stores. Who used “thrift” as a verb way back when? Hippies, that’s who. Case closed.





Filed under hipsters, humor, life advice, mid-life, Uncategorized

How to be 50: How to Update Your Decor

By Charlotte Latvala

A Pac-Man table is equally at home in formal or casual settings.

A Pac-Man table is equally at home in formal or casual settings.

If you’re 50, and you’ve lived in the same home for years, you’ve got your style down pat, even if you haven’t revised it since 1988.

Here at How to be 50, we’re not overly concerned with trends. That’s why Pinterest is confusing to us. (Not to mention, we always want to pronounce it “Pin-Interest.” We also hate crafts.)

But we at How to be 50 don’t want your hipster neighbors making fun of you. So next time you’re cruising Home Depot, think about:

  • Transforming your basement into a “retro” game room. You’ve already got your husband’s dusty old foosball table. Just add a few Breakfast Club posters and a boom box to finish the vintage look.
Guaranteed to launch a thousand boring stories from middle-aged people.

Guaranteed to launch a thousand boring stories from middle-aged guests.

  • The wallpaper border dilemma. Sure, those little roses all around the top of your living room were super-hip in the Laura Ashley era, but now they look dated and old-ladyish. You could go through the trouble of ripping them down, but why bother? Just cover the whole thing with painters’ tape, which makes you look industrious.
A thousand sins can be quickly covered with this stuff.

A thousand sins can be quickly covered with this stuff.

  • Or go all Banksy on your walls. Instead of merely pretending to paint, why not make a clever political statement with graffiti art?
  • Over-sized television dominating the living room? Throw some popcorn on the floor and start referring to your “home theater.”
Serve extra butter and your house gets rave reviews!

Serve extra butter and your house gets rave reviews!

  • Call your outdated ranch home “mid-century modern,” implying you are purposely keeping it that way. Remind guests (with a hint of condescension) that hideous avocado green accessories are “period.”
People used to pay for this color. Some still do.

People used to pay for this color. Some still do.

  • Piles of junk (books, suitcases, pizza boxes) are no longer a problem. Just plonk a lamp on top and you’re all Pinterest quirky-artsy.
This passes for imaginative decorating these days.

This passes for imaginative decorating these days.

  • Proper lighting is the secret to a fabulous room, so remove as many light bulbs as possible. (Guests can turn on iPhone flashlights if they have to find the bathroom.)
  • Hideous chair you can’t afford to replace? Make up a heart-tugging story about why you can’t part with it. (It’s where: Spouse proposed; dog expired; you decided to quit your job and become a full-time blogger one gin-and-tonic-soaked midnight last year.)
  • If all else fails, get a cat. A cute kitten distracts the eye from any awful décor.
If there's a kitten, nothing else matters.

Kitten = decorating magic.


Filed under decorating, humor, middle-aged, remodeling

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


Filed under exhausted, humor, middle-aged, self-help

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:

Continue reading


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 Accessorize

By Charlotte Latvala

Featured image

Just to be clear:  How to be 50 is not a fashion blog. Truth be told, we get a little anxious when talking about our appearance. We would rather be sitting down with a nice cold glass of Pinot Gris and reading Persuasion for the fifth time.

However, talk about it we must. Because at 50, certain changes occur. Waistlines expand while other body parts deflate. There’s a certain trick to dressing the ever-evolving middle-aged body.

That trick is called “accessories.”

Accessories exist for one purpose and one purpose only: To pull the eye away from wrinkly necks, lumpy backs, and cleavage that’s more matronly than eye-popping. Here are the basics: Continue reading


Filed under 1970s, clothes, fashion, humor, lists, mid-life, middle-aged, satire

How to be 50: How to Appear Successful

By Charlotte Latvala
Featured image

By Charlotte Latvala

By 50, you’ve figured out who you are, where you’re going, and how to get there.

Except that you haven’t. (Don’t feel bad. We at “How to be 50” are experts at being middle-aged and clueless.)

However, even if you have an empty checking account, a comatose career, and no discernible talent or ambition, you can still fake success with the best of them.

Don’t believe us? Try this: Continue reading


Filed under life advice, mid-life, middle-aged, money, parody, satire, self-help, successful