25 life rules that no longer apply
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
Au contraire! Older students, from seniors with a thirst for knowledge to thirty-somethings with a need for new or updated job skills, are embracing lifelong learning. That trend really started to take off in the 1970s, when colleges and universities noticed that a growing percentage of their students were “non-traditional” and looking for a different kind of educational experience than the typical incoming freshman. Today, online classes and degree programs, more frequent career changes, and aging baby boomers have combined to make lifelong learning the new normal.
No sex before marriage
Some people are still adamant about this rule, often on religious grounds, but the majority no longer views premarital sex as immoral. Yet while attitudes may have changed, behavior hasn’t. According to a study published in 2006, almost all Americans have sex before marriage—and always have, at least as far back as the data goes—leading researchers to question whether any period of significant premarital chastity ever really existed.
Marijuana is bad
Not according to voters in Washington and Colorado, who voted in 2012 to legalize personal use of the drug. And not according to many doctors in 18 states and the District of Columbia, who prescribe marijuana to help patients suffering from chronic pain, nausea and other symptoms related to dozens of illnesses ranging from cancer to glaucoma. Although the U.S. government still classifies marijuana as an illegal substance, the feds are taking a hands-off approach to enforcement of the law. Meanwhile, polls show that a growing majority of Americans nationwide believe marijuana should be legal.
Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses
This may have been a commonly held belief when Dorothy Parker, celebrated New York author and member of the Algonquin Roundtable, wrote the line in the 1920s. Today, however, eyewear has become a sexy fashion accessory for both men and women, one that can enhance any look.
Pride goeth before a fall
The meaning of this paraphrased biblical quotation has become as twisted as the quote itself (the original is, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”). Pride is listed as one of the seven deadly sins, but instead of understanding pride to mean hubris or arrogance, many people started equating healthy self-esteem with the sin of pride. Excessive humility is as bad as arrogance, and just as destructive. These days, taking pride in yourself, your family and your accomplishments is not only permitted, it’s recommended.
People retire at age 65
Yes, they do. They also retire at 75 and 85 and, well, never. People today are living longer and healthier lives. Many choose to keep working as long as they can. Others don’t have a choice; their lack of savings or wayward investments have left them without enough money to stop working at what some still consider the traditional retirement age of 65. But even people who retire from their primary careers often find new occupations as volunteers, consultants, or part-time workers.
Everyone needs three square meals a day
Breakfast, lunch and dinner has been the standard pattern of human nourishment almost since our ancestors descended from the trees, but many experts now believe it may not be the best approach. Dividing your daily calories among six or more small meals, rather than three big ones, can help to regulate blood sugar, keep metabolism steady and control unhealthy cravings, which can make it easier to lost weight and maintain good health.
Tanning gives your skin a healthy glow
There is no such thing as a healthy tan, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation and other leading experts. “There is no degree of tanning, whether from natural sunlight or artificial light . . . that can be considered safe,” says Dr. Francesca Fusco, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, who advises people to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (to block both UVA and UVB rays) and to take other steps to protect their skin. “Damage to your skin from the sun — and tanning beds — can happen in just minutes from exposure to ultraviolet rays.”
Never wear white after Labor Day
This rule was fashion law through the 1950s and continued to influence many of our style choices for much longer. It started with a ban on white shoes after the unofficial end of summer, but eventually expanded to include all types of white clothing. Yet this once ironclad seasonal taboo no longer applies. Today, even the most stylish people wear white after Labor Day.
No pain, no gain
This catchy slogan—the mantra for generations of athletes and other high achievers—is somewhat passé these days. Although there is certainly great value in challenging yourself to move outside your comfort zone, real pain is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong and you need to slow down, not push harder.