10 Tips on How Not to Act Old

Occasionally, a good laugh is what you need to keep going.  And sometimes laughing at oneself brings the most joy.  One thing I’ve come to realize is that a side effect of a growing older is acting older.  As I see the signs of ‘wisdom’ in my own actions, laughing at myself has become a routine thing.  I also find humor in resources on the subject, like “How Not to Act Old’ by Pamela Redmond Satran.

So, as I continually check myself (and everyone around me) for signs of aging, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite tips for how not to act old.  See if any of these resonate with you or someone you know.

Professional Tips on How Not to Act Old:

#1 – Don’t have multiple brain farts in one meeting.
One brain fart is pushing it; two equals a career ending move.  If the latter happens, you may want to make an appointment with someone as soon as the meeting is over.

#2 – Don’t discuss sleeping habits, personal problems or the weather.
And, ABSOLUTELY no references to a colonoscopy – yours or anyone else’s.

#3 – Ensure your clothes are not shrinking or shifting upward.
Try to keep your pants from inching ever so slowly away from your belly button and toward your chest. Stop using the .99 cent cleaners because you’re saving for retirement even though they keep shrinking your clothes. And, if you can feel air around your ankles when you know you shouldn’t, you’re looking old.

#4 – Don’t talk too much or use too many words.
Sometimes we become a little long-winded when we’ve “gained experience”.  Refrain from filling the air with words.  Find a period and hold on to it.

#5 – Don’t do the grandma or grandpa lean.
You’re definitely acting old if you have to lean in any direction in order to read.  If you lean back slightly and tilt your head up to read through your bifocal, or lean closer to the computer screen to see it better, or lean toward the person next to you to ask “what does this say?” — yep, you’re acting old.

Personal Tips on How Not to Act Old:

#6 – The first tip is a bundle package.  3 for the price of 1. 

  • Don’t call when a text will do
  • Don’t expect an immediate answer to your text, and
  • PLEASE don’t leave a message

Now this one may be tricky because a single infraction can cause you to look old.  Fight the urge and power through! Your new motto is Text, Wait, and Wonder. — Wonder if they received your message and if they will respond.  You can do it!

#7 – Don’t use your checkbook in public.
OK… this one is MAJOR.  Using a checkbook in public is no longer socially acceptable.  Most stores will take a check, scan it and hand it back to you.  Even they don’t want to be caught with it.  Checkbooks will make you look old for sure.  Write your checks at home and in private.

#8 – Start waxing.
This is a public service announcement!  This tip is for everyone!  And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

#9 – Get a tattoo or lie about having one.
Tattoos and tattoo lovers are in.  This is probably the only time where a lie may be necessary for many of you.  Go ahead, you have my permission to stretch the truth on this one.

#10- Don’t use exact change and stay away from pennies.
Oooh, now this one is the equivalent of acting old on steroids.  It’s not a good look – just don’t do it!

I’m OK with aging, but I refuse to act old.  Of course, none of these things describe me (wink wink).  I’d like to hear from you.  Send me your tips on how not to act old.  I can’t wait!

Charlotte Ntreh is a Partner at PeopleResults where she helps clients build and sustain high performing, effective and impactful organizations with measurable results. You can reach her at cntreh@people-results.com or follow her on twitter @cntreh.