I am no good at being 20 years old. When in line at Starbucks, I have a tendency to talk to strangers, whether or not they want to carry on conversation with me is inconsequential. I think that 1 p.m. is the ideal time to go to the picture show. I still have no idea what gluten is. My go-to movie is Patton. I have one application on my iPhone (it’s the flashlight one) and I call apps “applications.”
Nope. I am no good at being 20, but I think I could be really good at being, like, 75.
I want to be one of those really cool, take no prisoners older ladies. In my unending pursuit of gaining entrance into the inner sanctum of old-aged cooldom, I asked the coolest lady I know for some guidance: my grandma.
I asked her what was the exact moment when she knew she was cool, to which she replied, “Honey, I don’t think I am all that cool.” Gah! Is there nothing cooler than unabashed humility?
From observing my grandma, I have gleaned that being cool in your old age is about being comfortable, content and other synonyms thereof. Below are several personality traits and habitual practices that are signs that you have the makings of being a cool older lady.
1. You can dress trendy, but you’re still able to laugh at yourself.
Having lived through the a-line skirts of the ’50s, the gossamer pants of the ’70s and the shoulder pads of the ’80s, my grandma has gained an amazing closet and a wonderful sense of humor.
When my contemporaries and me look back on our wardrobes of yesteryear, we will remember the bedazzled denims of the 1990s, the crop tops of 2010s and the grey jumpsuits mandated by our robot overlords in the 2030s. The laughter we will share!
2. You have found a good group of friends who don’t pacify you.
They’ll make the best bridge partners.
3. You smile, even when you don’t feel like it.
My great-grandpa always said to smile at everyone because it may be the only one they get all day. My grandma has further expounded on this notion, amending that just because you’re having a bad day does not mean that you can’t make someone else feel better about theirs.
Worrying and smiling both cause wrinkles, but only one of these is really worth it.
4. You get excited about taxes.
Extracting joy from the empirically ordinary is an admirable and enviable skill that often comes with age or, in rare cases, near death circumstances. Such mundanities can include feeding the fish, shopping for belts or even paying your bills.
I believe it was Stephen Colbert (or someone of the like) that once said that there are only two things in life that are certain: death and taxes. With this in mind, paying your taxes is infinitely better than the only other inevitable alternative.
5. You don’t try to abbreviate things that are best left long.
Like surnames and romantic intentions, there are a few things are worth taking the time to completely spell out.
6. You keep up with the newfangled technologies.
Don’t bother with learning anything like the beta disk, but the things that will help you stay in contact with your family.
7. You think it’s okay to be cliché.
I mean, we’ve all cried during Patton. It’s cool. We’re in this together.
8. You ask a lot of questions and understand some of the answers may be unsatisfying.
Stay curious or– at the very least– feign curiosity until you find something that actually interests you. It is a statistical fact that every person knows at least one thing that you don’t. But if you ever ask a question and find that the answer is not to your liking don’t force the issue too much.
Was there an actual Grecian poet named Homer? What member of N*Sync had the best, frosted tips? Some questions will always remain unanswerable.
9. You have a drink of choice.
I have had my grandma’s drink order memorized since I was about five: Vodka, on the rocks with a lemon twist and an onion, in a bucket. Only when I was finally old enough to experience, first hand, what vodka actually tasted like did I understand how valiant my grandma was for drinking it straight. Your chosen drink can be non-alcoholic or metaphoric. It is more about recognizing your specific tastes.
10. You wear comfortable shoes.
I had to read the Old Man and the Sea for a high school English class—and by read I mean I skimmed over a lot and inferred way too much—and when my grandma saw me with the book, she told me a story about when her and her cousin visited Havana in the ’50s and went on Hemmingway’s boat.
I then choked on my Capri Sun and asked her how she got onto the boat. She shrugged and told me she didn’t wear heels that day so that made it a lot easier.
Featured image via.