As I approach my 60s and hang around a lot of folks (mainly white dudes, and sometimes the women who love them) in their 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, behaviors come to mind that I hope to avoid.

  1. Be angry with and afraid of immigrants, because they bring unwelcome change to our society1.
  2. Be angry about society as a whole and talk about how things are just going downhill2.
  3. Opine about how we’ve lost our strong sense of values3.
  4. Complain about the country becoming a socialist state while happily collecting my social security checks and medicare health insurance.
  5. Limit my news sources to those that agree with my current opinions, never seeking out counter-arguments to see if it is time to update my own priors4.
  6. Wish for a society that was more strongly based in religious values5.
  7. Complain about “young people these days”, because they don’t agree 100% with your values or because they don’t have the same work ethic.
  8. Be afraid and/or angry about perceived threats that we read about in the news, or see on broadcast news, that almost certainly have no bearing on my everyday well-being.6
  1. FBI report and Undocumented Immigrants Are Half as Likely to Be Arrested for Violent Crimes as U.S.-Born Citizens

  2. While subject to change, every generation being born is better off than the generation before in terms of healthcare, economic opportunity, and quality of life measures. 

  3. If you are in your 80s, the societal values you grew up included segregation, overt policies that prevented others from moving into your neighborhood, and explicit homophobia and misogyny. 

  4. Update your priors

  5. Better hope the religion is yours! Want prayer in school? OK, how about a call to muslim prayer ringing out through your grandchildren’s elementary school? 

  6. The media wants us to be outraged, they want us to be afraid. They will manufacture possible outcomes to activate their audiences.