You might think this article entitled “50 Life Skills Every Woman Should Know By 50” by Shelley Emling at HuffPost50 is just for women of the baby boomer generation. But men, think about it: don’t you want to know what they need to know?

Author and journalist Gail Sheehy once said that a seasoned woman is spicy, noting that “she has been marinated in life experience.” We agree. By the time a woman reaches 50, she is more sure of herself — and of her abilities — than she was at 20 or even at 40. We talked with a variety of women over 50 and came up with this list of 50 skills every woman should master by 50. Have anything to add?

Gail Sheehy, author.

Boomer women should be able to:

  1. Recognize a true friend and value their presence in your life.
  2. Trim their own bangs. (Yes, older women can wear them.)
  3. Make a fool of themselves and not worry about what people are saying.
  4. Complete their own tax returns.
  5. Sharpen knives and carve a roast.
  6. Confidently select their own wine.
  7. Stock the essential ingredients in a pantry (a pasta, canned tomatoes, good olive oil).
  8. Locate all their family’s important papers.
  9. Light a grill and then cook on it.
  10. Say what they really want in bed.
  11. Program and operate their TV (this is easier said than done!).
  12. Recognize when to try harder and when to walk away.
  13. Whip up an impressive signature dish.
  14. Buy bras that really fit and wear clothes that are flattering for their figure.
  15. Maintain their own yard.
  16. Tell a few really spectacular jokes.
  17. Make a case for a cause they believe in.
  18. Create a real retirement strategy.
  19. Tell off at least one person who deserves it.
  20. Recognize when their doctor may not be right and then go on to prove him or her wrong about a particular health concern.
  21. Accept a compliment without getting flustered.
  22. Say “no” — even to family — without feeling guilty.
  23. Make small talk with just about anyone no matter what their age.
  24. Put together a piece of “assembly required” furniture.
  25. Swim or ski or play tennis.
  26. Paint a room.
  27. Assemble an emergency First Aid kit.
  28. Protect themselves from an attacker.
  29. Repair the faucet, toilet and other basic items around the house. (This includes sealing windows and doors too.)
  30. Make guests feel comfortable at a party.
  31. Shoot and edit a video for family and friends.
  32. Use a GPS — and also read a map and use a compass.
  33. Give a toast in front of a large group of people.
  34. Detect a lie.
  35. Negotiate a raise.
  36. Tell a good story and also really listen when one is being told.
  37. Keep a computer and the information on it secure.
  38. Buy or lease a car without getting ripped off.
  39. Reach out to a friend and ask for help.
  40. Speak a second language — at least a little bit.
  41. Enjoy being alone whether traveling, seeing a film or eating out.
  42. Manage money digitally.
  43. Strike a real balance between work and home.
  44. Connect and start a new computer or TV or any other device.
  45. Develop a skill that can be passed on to a child or grandchild.
  46. Forgive themselves.
  47. Change the subject.
  48. Shed a toxic friend.
  49. Keep a secret.
  50. Relax and meditate, confident in the knowledge they will move through the next stage of their life with courage and determination.


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