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My mom has 7 rules to be happy and successful as you age: No. 1 is, ‘Your 20s are mostly practice’

By | Cameron Albert-Deitch |

A few years ago, I watched a friend have a panic attack over the prospect of turning 30.

Last month, I spent a long weekend at the beach for another friend’s 30th wherein the “over the hill” jokes flew thick and fast. I’ve seen people hyperventilate upon graduating college at age 22 (“I’m an adult now”) or hitting 25 (“I’m really an adult now”).

To me, this is odd. I’ve never felt anxious about a birthday. I credit that to my mom’s “rules of aging,” which have been ingrained in my head ever since I can remember:

  • Your 20s are mostly practice — they almost don’t count.
  • Your 30s are when you figure out who you’re going to be.
  • You don’t pick up speed until your 40s.
  • You don’t gain real momentum until your 50s.
  • You likely won’t have made your most significant, make-a-difference in the world achievements until your 60s.
  • In your 70s, you’re reinventing yourself.
  • You therefore cannot possibly be old until you’re well into your 80s. And even then, it’s iffy.

Internalizing these guidelines can help you feel a lot better about getting older. That can make you healthier and help you lead a more highly successful life, experts say.

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